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European Art Pottery1459 of 1482Riessner, Stellmacher & Kessel AmphoraA Kennemerland Kannetje vase  by Gellings.
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Posted 5 years ago


(612 items)

I bought this figure of a monkey many years ago. It's identity was long a mystery to me. I finally worked on the Japanese character and finally found out that it is 'Masafumi'.

The orange lustre caught my attention when I saw it at the Salvo's.
In those days I was collecting Royal Lancastrian lustre wares.

But the mark below was Japanese.

It reminds me of the work of the Dutch ceramicist Jozef Mendes da Costa.

I believe it now is by Fujihira Masafumi.

Masaru = The demon queller

Monkey lore in Japan (and fox lore too) is closely related to Chinese geomancy (Ch: feng shui), a system for determining auspicious or inauspicious placements and orientations of cities, temples, houses, and graves. In Chinese thought, the northeast quarter is considered to be particularly inauspicious. The northeast direction is known as the "demon gate," which can be loosely translated as the place where "demons gather and enter." This belief was imported by the Japanese and is referred to as Kimon (literally "Demon Gate"). Kimon generally means ominous direction, or taboo direction. In Japan, both the monkey and the fox are guardians against evil Kimon influences.

In Japan, the monkey's role in guarding against demons originates from the Japanese word for monkey (saru), which is a homonym for the Japanese word "expel" (also pronounced saru). The latter word means to "dispel, punch out, push away, beat away." According to the legends of Japan's Mt. Hiei shrine-temple multiplex, this makes the monkey an "expeller of demons" -- in other traditions, the monkey is also thought to ward off thieves. In addition, Mt. Hiei proved to be a very fortunate choice for Saicho (766-822 AD), the founder of Tendai Buddhism in Japan, for the Tendai sect's main temple (Enryakuji) on Mt. Hiei is located to the northeast of the old imperial capital (Kyoto). According to Chinese geomantic views then popular at the Japanese court (early Heian Era), Kyoto was thought to be particularly vulnerable to evil influences from the northeast. The success of Saicho and Tendai Buddhism in Japan is thus related, in part, to the geomantic significance of Mt. Hiei's location northeast of Kyoto. The success of monkey lore in Japan is likewise partly due to this association. At the Hie Shrine on Mt. Hiei, the protective monkey is named MASARU.

Any input on this piece would be helpful to me.

Unsolved Mystery

Help us close this case. Add your knowledge below.


  1. vetraio50 vetraio50, 3 years ago
    A very belated thanks to ozmarty!
  2. vetraio50 vetraio50, 3 years ago
    Many thanks mustangtony!
  3. vetraio50 vetraio50, 3 years ago
    Many thanks Amber!
  4. vetraio50 vetraio50, 3 years ago
    Many thanks ho2cultcha!
  5. vetraio50 vetraio50, 3 years ago
    Many thanks Sean!
  6. ho2cultcha ho2cultcha, 3 years ago
    beautiful monkey! what's in his hand? is that a dunce cap on his head or a monk's mitre?
  7. vetraio50 vetraio50, 3 years ago
    Many thanks ho2culture. The paraphenalia are Shinto religious ceremonial stuff I think. The hat is called "tate-eboshi". The robe is "jo-e" or pure cloth.

    Shinto ("the way of the gods") is the indigenous faith of the Japanese people and as old as Japan itself. It remains Japan's major religion alongside Buddhism. Shinto does not have a founder nor does it have sacred scriptures like the sutras or the bible. "Shinto gods" are called kami. They are sacred spirits which take the form of things and concepts important to life, such as wind, rain, mountains, trees, rivers and fertility. Humans become kami after they die and are revered by their families as ancestral kami. The kami of extraordinary people are even enshrined at some shrines. The Sun Goddess Amaterasu is considered Shinto's most important kami. In the Meiji Period, Shinto was made Japan's state religion and Shinto priests became state officials.
  8. vetraio50 vetraio50, 3 years ago
    The wand over his or her shoulder is called "haraegushi".
  9. vetraio50 vetraio50, 3 years ago
    At the entrance of the Hie shrines, dedicated to Sannou, the deity from Mount Hiei (near Kyoto), there are usually two statues of monkey gods (Sarugami), a male and a female, guardians against evil spirits.
    Also, Sarugami is the lord of the famous three monkeys that “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil".
    Monkey worship in Japan peaked in the Edo Era, and has declined significantly since then. Even so, the legacy of monkey faith is easily spotted in modern Japan. One can still find centuries-old stone statues with monkey motifs in many Japanese localities -- statues weathering away, unprotected from the elements, more than 300 years in age.

    I now see that this figure is called Masaru.

    The Demon Queller!

  10. vetraio50 vetraio50, 2 years ago
    Many thanks SEAN68 and bratjdd!
    I'm on the case.
    I think!
  11. vetraio50 vetraio50, 2 years ago
    Is it signed Masafumi?
  12. vetraio50 vetraio50, 2 years ago
    Many thanks ho2cultcha!
  13. vetraio50 vetraio50, 2 years ago
    Masafumi Fujihira? Kyoto?
  14. vetraio50 vetraio50, 2 years ago
    Many thanks SEAN & AEON!
  15. vetraio50 vetraio50, 2 years ago
    Many thanks Deanteaks!
  16. vetraio50 vetraio50, 2 years ago
    Many thanks MANIKIN and SARAHHOFF too!
  17. vetraio50 vetraio50, 2 years ago
    Many thanks for the loves TOM31675!
  18. vetraio50 vetraio50, 2 years ago
    Many thanks CRAZYMUNKEE!
  19. vetraio50 vetraio50, 2 years ago
    I thought you might like this one CRAZYMUNKEE!
  20. vetraio50 vetraio50, 2 years ago
    Many thanks PHATBUDDAH!
  21. vetraio50 vetraio50, 2 years ago
  22. vetraio50 vetraio50, 2 years ago
    Many thanks VINTAGEFRAN!
  23. vetraio50 vetraio50, 2 years ago
    Many thanks AGHCOLLECT!
  24. vetraio50 vetraio50, 1 year ago
    Many thanks NORDICMAN 'n VINTAGEFRAN too !!!!
  25. vetraio50 vetraio50, 1 month ago
    Many thanks CAPERKID !!!!!!!!!
  26. vetraio50 vetraio50, 30 days ago
    Many thanks GETHATMONKEYOUTOFME !!!!!!!!
  27. Radegunder Radegunder, 30 days ago
    Good looking and colourful!!!
  28. vetraio50 vetraio50, 29 days ago
    Many thanks RADEGRUNDER !!!!!!!

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