John Shea

Hoping to identify a sumo-related sculpture

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Dear Sirs,

Hope you are all doing well.

My name is John. First post. Thank you for having me.  

I acquired this sculpture from a Yahoo Japan auction listing. It was advertised as antique though I do not know if that is true. I was told it is supposed to be a depiction of the gods Takemikazuchi and Takeminakata wrestling, which is an origin story for Sumo. I do not know if that depiction makes sense. I liked the sculpture, so purchased it, but would love to learn more about it.

Does anyone recognize it? Can anyone read the writing on the bottom? Can you tell me how old it is? Any other identifying information or information of interest? 

Here is a link to a Dropbox folder with photos, as the photos are too large.

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/me963ji08w4b3w9/AAD4oQmvCcycnj7e12pb01Sja?dl=0

Thank you!

John A. Shea, MD

 

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Posted (edited)

The writing on the bottom appears to be a name stamp of some sort.  The Koreans call it "do-jang" (Hanja/kanji = 圖章, Japanese pronunciation unknown)  These stamps were used in many ways - dipped in ink to stamp a parchment, dipped in wax to seal a document, or even made of metal and used to burn the impression in wood.  This appears to be carved and would then not be "do-jang" but simply the artists signature or "nak-kwan" (Hanja/kanji = 落 款, Japanese pronunciation appears to be "rak kan").  Might be someone out there with more insight to confirm or deny my expectation of exactly what the carving on the base is.

 

Edited by Yangnomazuma

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On closer inspection, it appears to be stamped in, not carved.  The stamp would be metal and would be placed on the location and hit with a hammer.  Either way, I believe it still to be the "signature", if you will, of the artist.

 

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Bottom group  characters basically state an item for sale. The above ones I cannot read properly but the first character on the top left is country and the other ones on the left are for sculpture. These on the right seem like a drawing, not characters. So, some label from bygone times. 

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Posted (edited)

I think I can help. I believe the top seal says: 紀念浅草 (right column)    国技館  (left column) - Kinen Asakusa Kokugikan , meaning something like a memory of Asakusa Kokugikan? or a souvenir from Asakusa Kokugikan?

I did some research and it seems like Asakusa Kokugikan was a building (probably in the Asakusa district of Tokyo?) that burned in 1920. According to the description from this source, it appears that it was a judo facility rather than a sumo one: https://jaa2100.org/entry/detail/030304.html

Could someone with a better grasp of Japanese confirm if the above is correct?

Edited by Senkoho
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50 minutes ago, Senkoho said:

I did some research and it seems like Asakusa Kokugikan was a building (probably in the Asakusa district of Tokyo?) that burned in 1920. According to the description from this source, it appears that it was a judo facility rather than a sumo one: 

It was planned as a kokugikan, but was only used a few times for sumo - many troubles: costs, badly planned seat layout, problems between the rikishi and the hall administrators - and the Meiji tenno died not long after the opening. http://www.12kai.com/12kai/kokugi.html

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