Netsuke - Shojo sleeping, Japan

Netsuke - Shojo sleeping, Japan

Netsuke
Japan
1750-1850
Carved ivory
Museum no. A.894-1910

Figure of a sleeping Shojo, a mythical creature  with a liking for drinking sake. A kindly creature from Japanese mythology, Shojos live on the bottom of the sea. They have red  hair and a pink or red skin and are naked but for a skirt  of green seaweed. The figure here is sleeping and  leaning forward into its lap, therefore the nakedness is hidden. They brew a medicinal white wine called 'shiroi sake'  and other medicines. If a good person drinks the sake,  it will taste delicious and heals all ailments. If  consumed by a wicked person it will kill them, unless the drinker repents at once.