Nara School Shibuichi Menuki Decorated with Momotaro Theme
Shibuichi menuki decorated with Momotaro theme.
Momotaro was a boy that according to legends was born from a giant peach. This is a modern version of the story. In most Edo period books an elderly women eats that giant peach and gets younger as a result. And after that gives birth to Momotaro. A boy with amazing strength that after reaching adolescence leaves home to fight Oni. On his quest to Onigashima (demon island) he befriended a talking dog, monkey and pheasant.
Momotaro theme sword fittings are very rare. On the bottom of the page there are few pictures of tsuba by Nara Yukiyoshi with the same theme. Details on the tsuba and this menuki are very similar, especially considering how rare the motiv is. That is why I think those menuki might have been made by Yukiyoshi himself, or at least someone who copied his work.
This menuki are made with an absolutely amazing attention to detail. Not only carving is beautiful but all metals used to decorate this piece are actually inlaid. There is no iro here. Old man on ura menuki has an inro attached to his obi, this almost unnoticeable inro made of inlaid shakudo is just 2 mm x 1,5 mm.