Shoki and Oni

Place made: 
Asia; Japan
Shoki and Oni, 19th century
Ivory; carved with pigment
Overall: 2 1/2 in x 1 7/8 in x 1 in; 6.4 cm x 4.8 cm x 2.5 cm
William Richter Collection, Gift of Margaret Ruth Richter (Class of 1939)
MH 1986.30.57

Oni are Japanese demons that resemble humans except for their 3 eyes, large mouths, horns, and sharp nails. They fly around in search of the souls of the wicked on their deathbeds. The conqueror of demons is Shoki, the god of the afterlife and exorcism. His role is similar to that of the Chinese deity known as Zhongkui.