Japanese antique pair of zenko, good spirit kitsune (foxes) specifically associated with the goddess, Inari. These figures are carved of wood and painted with gofun, a white paste made from oyster shells. Details are painted using black and red pigments. Gold lacquered hoshi no tama, resembling flames and symbolizing magical jewels that hold part of the kitsune's power, are held by each fox on the tip of it's tail. These foxes were believed to be both messengers and guardians serving Inari in her role as goddess of agriculture, specifically rice. Part of the folklore surrounding the fox is it's ability to shape shift into human form. It is believed that Inari Okami herself sometimes took the form of a kitsune.
Age: Edo Period (1603-1868)
Dimensions of each: 14 1/4" high x 5 1/4" wide 10 1/2"deep (not including stands)