Oni wooden netsuke

Wooden netsuke of the demon Oni hiding in a foot warmer (anka) in order to protect himself from the bean seeds that are thrown at him. The beans are represented by two inlaid stones. His right arm stands out, a part of his head is visible through a small hole in the foot warmer.
The Setsubun festival came from China and is introduced in Japan around the 8th century. Its celebrates the arrival of spring. On this occasion, Japanese households expel bad luck and invite good luck by throwing bean seed at Oni and shouting “Oni wa soto ! Fuku wa ichi !”, “Devils out! Fortune in!”.

Collector’s label erased.

Signed ?次 (either ?tsugu, ?tsugi, ?ji or ?shi)

Japon – Meiji Era (1868-1912)
Length 1.38 in. (3.5 cm) – width 1 in. (2.5 cm) – height 0.87 in. (2.2 cm)