Hearst Museum Portal


Museum number:
Alternate number:
1-1 (original number)
Accession number:
Object count:
Netsuke: man and woman with water buckets. Man opens a clamshell; woman holds small basket. 4.0 cm. According to the donor's catalog: "Netsuke in ivory of a man and woman standing side by side, in village fashion, with their water buckets before the village well (well must be imagined). The man has the heavier bucket, which he has just placed on the ground. He is middle-aged and bald. The woman is young and beautiful and carries her smaller bucket. Mama-no-Tekona. The Gato-Ji Temple is old and situated at Mama of Ichikawa. It was founded by Priest Nitchō, a disciple of Nichiren, who founded the Nichiren sect of Buddhism. Nitchō left his temple in 1299. The statues in the temple gate were carved by Unkei, the greatest sculptor of Japan. Near the stone steps that lead to the temple, there is a small shrine dedicated to Mama-no-Tekona, the maiden Tekona of Mama village, created by priest Nippo in 1501 near the grave of Tekona near the village of Mama. She was a girl of exceeding beauty and lived in the reign of the Emperor Kinmei (540-571). She used to come to draw water from the well of the village, when it was said. She was clad in rough hemp and barefoot, but she was a thousand times as beautiful as a nobleman's daughter for her face was as round as the full moon and as charming as the flowers in their prime. When she drew water from the well, the people of the village were attracted to her like insects that are drawn to the fire in the summer. The young lads vied with each other, in seeking her hand, but all were disappointed. Tekona was sad to see so many young men ruined on her account, and in order to save them any more mortification she plunged herself into a river that runs by Mama. Mushimara, Takahasi, Akahito, Amabe and many other poets wrote odes in admiration of her chastity, which made her still revered, now that more than fifteen centuries have elapsed, but the people visit her little shrine, constantly from one end of the year to the other.
Estate of Geraldine C. and Kernan Robson
Collection place:
Production place:
Tokyo Metropolis, South Kanto, Kanto region
Culture or time period:
Edo period (1603-1868)
Maker or artist:
Geraldine C. Robson
Collection date:
before 1940
Ivory (material)
Object type:
2.2 Personal Adornments and Accoutrements
Production date:
Accession date:
Context of use:
Toggle to be attached to the end of a cord and thrust through the sash of a kimono for the support of a purse, pouch or lacquer box.
Cat. 9 - Asia (incl. Russia east of Urals)
height 4 centimeters
Legacy documentation: