This small ivory netsuke features two men and an oni (demon). One of the men is partially submerged in a round bathtub, his arms holding one side. The other man stands at the side of the bath, wearing shorts and grasping the edge of the tub with his right hand. He is holding a patterned towel in his left. The oni is standing with one foot on bench behind the tub and the other foot on the edge of the tub, bending over the man in the bath, his hands on the man's back and arm. The artist paid great attention to detail, including the ripples in the water, one of the men's back hair, and the wood grain of the bench, among other details. This netsuke may have been the top of a perfume bottle.
Oni, a kind of yokai (supernatural creature) from Japanese folklore, are considered to be creatures similar demons, ogres, and trolls. Oni are very often represented in visual art, literature, theater, and popular culture in Japan. Oni may take varying forms, but fairly consistently are large and grotesque creatures with claws and horns. They have human-like bodies but are often red or blue in color and may have extra eyes or fingers. They are usually shown wearing loincloths and carrying clubs (their weapon of choice). Oni are known for being exceptionally strong.