Badger (Tanuki) On A Buddhist Temple Bell (Mokugyo)

Japanese


Badger (Tanuki) on a Buddhist Temple Bell (Mokugyo), late 19th century, Meiji Period

  • Not On View

Stoneware, bizen ware

Dimensions: 7 1/8 × 7 3/8 in. (18.1 × 18.7 cm)

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Soldan, 1981.91

According to Japanese legend, the badger, or tanuki, has supernatural powers and can transform himself into a peasant, a pretty girl, or a Buddhist monk. Here, the badger is shown impersonating a monk in his kimono robe, sitting on top of a temple bell called a mokugyo. The badger’s tricks, however, are considered amusing rather than malicious. Badgers have a special weakness for sake (wine) and are often shown near or holding a sake bottle.

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