Okimono: Shinto Priest with Frog


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Basic Information

Artifact Identification Okimono: Shinto Priest with Frog   (2002.18.0015)
  1. Communication Artifacts
  2. :
  3. Art
  4. :
  5. N/A
Artist/Maker Ryuchindo Shujin, Ryuchin
Geographic Location
Period/Date Meiji Period (1868-1912), Late 19th century
Culture Japanese

Physical Analysis

Dimension 1 (Height) 17.8 cm
Dimension 2 (Width) 8.4 cm
Dimension 3 (Depth) 7.2 cm
Weight 304 g
Measuring Remarks None
Materials Plant--Boxwood, Plant--Wood
Manufacturing Processes Carved
Munsell Color Information Strong Brown (5yr 3/6)- overall (monk) Dark Grayish Brown (5yr 2/2)- flower design Dark Brown (5yr 2/4)- leaf base

Research Remarks

Published Description N/A

"A Japanese boxwood Okimono of a Shinto priest.

A finely carved boxwood Okimono of a Japanese Shinto priest, startled during his nightly rounds by a very large frog blocking the pathway. The frog has an expression suggesting the priest has encroached the frog’s territory. The priest’s attire is finely carved and defined from the folds of his silk robes to the paper squares of his shimenawa (sacred wand used to purge evil spirits), to the fine defined hairs upon his head. His pained facial expression is slightly exaggerated, giving depth to the overall carving, 7”H. Signed Ryuchindo Shujin-to (literally ‘by the master carver Ryuchin’). Late 19th century. Ryuchin (Gyokuhosai Ryuchin 1865-1911) was amongst the most brilliant carvers of his period. His designs are known for their originality, artistry and feeling. Shinto is a native Japanese religion which predates the introduction of Buddhism, but is still a vital religious force in Japanese life. Shinto consists of the veneration of the spirits of the dead, especially those of the ancestors and heroes of the Japanese. Shintoists believe that all of nature is filled with divine spirits, known as kami, to whom proper respect must be given.

Boxwood is a very close-grained dense yellowish brown hardwood. (Hardwood comes from an angiospermous tree.)" - Bernie McManus, Appraiser, Woodbury House, Connecticut, 9/4/2002.


Christie’s, London, 11/14/2001, sale JOARU #6604, lot #75, ivory figure signed Ryuchin, 2”H. This double figure is far more intricate than the comparable, and rarer in wood. No other comparable wood figure by this artist could be found.

Bibliography N/A

Artifact History

Archaeological Data N/A
Credit Line/Dedication Fred A. Freund Collection
Reproduction No
Reproduction Information N/A

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