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Large and Old Tanuki

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    Posted 13 days ago

    (4337 items)

    This is a female tanuki [raccoon fox] holding a large mushroom. I don't know what the hole in her back is for, but i saw them on several old ones online. apparently females ones like this are pretty rare. I think it's pretty old - but not sure yet.

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    1. rhineisfine rhineisfine, 12 days ago
      Thinking out loud, here, and hopefully getting the discussion rolling...
      First and perhaps most usefully, I remembered seeing a tanuki much like yours - and I managed to locate it on Etsy just now. It's a male counterpart to your female:
      The style is so similar that this style may originally have been produced as a matching pair. (Looked at in that way, I suspect think there may be some symbolism in the implements they hold, too.)
      As to the hole in the back... for what it's worth, I have an old bronze tanuki that has a similar hole at the base of its neck. The seller pointed it out at the time and observed that it would originally have had a cover in the form of a sedge hat. Unfortunately, the hat was lost at some point. My bronze tanuki was sold to me as an incense burner, presumably because it's hollow and has that hole; but to be honest I think it is purely an okimono (ornament).
      I'm mentioning this last bit because I'm wondering if the hole in the back of yours might also be missing a "hat" cover. The one on mine is a bit higher, so perhaps it's less likely in your case. The one on Etsy has the same hole in the back, with no cover, so perhaps - as you said - they're just made that way?
    2. ho2cultcha ho2cultcha, 10 days ago
      Thank you Rhine. i found quite a few similar old tenuki's online and they also had this hole in the back w/ no explanation for it. The man who sold it to me thought it might be used as a hand warmer. You'd drop the coals thru the hole and warm your hands on her head. it does feel like it would work well, but no idea really.
    3. rhineisfine rhineisfine, 9 days ago
      Oh, that's a thought! He's talking about teaburi (literally translated as hand-warmer), or possibly hibachi (literally, fire bowl or fire pot).
      Searching on teaburi - in Japanese - gets you some "upright" tanuki not too different from yours:
      Whereas searching on hibachi gives you a number of wide-mouthed bowls with tanuki decoration on the edge:
      Incidentally, I did find a mention in English of a tanuki teaburi on this page:
      I'm starting to think that might be the answer for your tanuki... and possibly mine, too. Thanks for sharing these ideas!
      P.S. I used TinyUrl as a link shortener above because Google image search URLs are just too long to post into a short comment ;)

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