Early 19th century, circa 1810


The Kitsune Inari, with a moveable lower jaw and large pointed ears bent forward, the inside of the mouth painted red, inscribed Tenka'ichi Deme Uman.

H. 3.8 cm


Some Japanese traditional masks are Kitsune (fox), Noh, Kyōgen, Shinto and Kagura masks.

In folklore stories, foxes shapeshift to trick humans. They can take the form of a priest to trick villagers or the form of a beautiful woman to seduce men.

Nature's contradictory conditions like rain in sunny weather are described as the moment foxes have their marriages and parades or when a fox is near.

Netsuke of a Noh fox or Kitsune mask by Deme Uman