the Ghost Eater, also known as the Judge of Hell. Whose Chinese name is Zongkai.
He is a Buddhist deity commonly worshipped as a demon queller in China and Japan,
traditionally shown in an aggressive pose slaying demons with drawn sword. However,
given the characteristic Japanese love of laughter, Shoki is often represented
in okimono and netsuke as a comical hero. As depicted here in this small yet complex
Kutani figure, the wildly Shoki is tightly grabbing the leash of his legendary
pet lion, the witty expression of the beast is keenly matching that of his owner's,
so doubled the charms to the otherwise ferocious pair. Granting the lighthearted
approach in these virile figures, the mottled red and bright green glaze finishing
suggested that the okimono was decorated in Kaga. A
highly collectible find.