unsigned ivory netsuke
pair of nio guardians wrestling
2 3/8 by 1 5/8 in., 6 by 4.2 cm
both clad in the typical billowing loin cloths that reveal their well-defined musculature, they sit facing each other and lean forward to grasp their opponent's right hand and brace themselves for the struggle; the pupils of their eyes highlighted with dark stain 19th century
Nio are fierce guardians positioned at entrances to Buddhist temples to ward off devils. They are based on the Hindu directional guardians, Indra and Brahma. In Japan they are represented with intimidating physiques and stances to scare off any malignant spirits. Their wrestling is symbolic of the principal of futatsu tomoe- the yin and yang struggle (and balance) of opposing forces, including good and evil.
Scholten Japanese Art is open Monday - Friday, and some Saturdays by appointment only
Contact Katherine Martin at
(212) 585-0474 or email
to schedule a visit between 11am and 4pm for no more than two individuals at a time.
In order to adhere to New York State guidelines visitors are asked to wear face masks and practice social distancing.
site last updated
November 18, 2020
Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
ph: (212) 585-0474
fx: (212) 585-0475
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