A Small Hand Painted Ema: Shinto "Ex Voto"

$175.00 USD

mid twentieth century
7 1/4" x 9 1/2", 18.5 cm x 24 cm

This is a charming, hand painted wooden tablet showing a devout woman in prayer.

This is a ko ema.  Aema is a votive tablet offered by an individual to a Shinto temple either in petition for a favor or in thanks for a favor received.  Some ema can be very large and hand painted.  They can depict battle scenes, sailing ships or other elaborate images.  Ko ema are small votives which were mass-produced by itinerant painters who would sell the goods on roads leading to, or in front of, a shrine.

This ema depicts a white mouse or rat and perhaps it has some zodiacal significance. The image is efficiently painted using only four colors on lightweight, distressed wood: it seems the ema once bore a frame on its edges which has now disappeared. Not as well the loss to the lower, left corner.

A wonderful thing with rustic appeal.