Netsuke of Ashinaga and Tenaga with an Octopus

Date: 18th century

Culture: Japan

Medium: Wood

Dimensions: H. 2 3/4 in. (7 cm); W. 1 1/16 in. (2.7 cm); D. 7/8 in. (2.3 cm)

Classification: Netsuke

Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. Russell Sage, 1910

Accession Number: 10.211.2348

Description

Ashinaga ("long legs") and Tenaga ("long arms") are two mythical figures who utilize their enhanced extremities to capture creatures from the ocean. The pair thus transforms what might at first appear as physical disfigurements into a mutually beneficial attribute. Here Tenaga grasps the day's catch, an octopus, in his left hand. In turn, the octopus' tentacles ensnare Ashinaga's legs and Tenaga's arm, and one tentacle reaches up toward Ashinaga's back.

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