天狗の巣 (tengu no su)
This top depicts a tengu nest. Tengu are creatures from Japanese folklore that are considered a kind of kami (god/spirit) or yōkai (supernatural being). Although they are thought to take the form of birds, they are frequently depicted with both bird-like and human characteristics. Beginning around the fourteenth century, tengu began being depicted with a distinctive long nose. Tengu masks are often represented with bright red faces and extended, phallic noses. Tengu, sometimes appearing with yamabushi garb or Buddhist monks’ staffs, have had varying associations in legend with Shintō, mountain asceticism (shūgendō), and Buddhist customs. They are often depicted holding a magical fan made of feathers called a ha-uchiwa (羽団扇 “feather fan”).
Hiroi Michiaki: Next… Ah. This is the tengu’s nest. I don’t think the tengu actually builds a nest, though, you know.
Mrs. Hiroi: All of these are tengu hatching out of the nest.
Hiroi: The tengu’s egg, there’s also an egg you see. Tengu, in legend—
Mrs. Hiroi: The nose. The nose gets long like this.
Hiroi: What would you call a tengu? A yōkai? They live in the mountains, though it’s not that they do anything particularly bad. They hold a fan like this and… sort of frighten people and such. And they, um, they’re born from eggs. And this is a tengu’s egg and here they’ve built a nest. So those are the tengu’s eggs. If you spin this, if you spin this to the side, it stands straight up. It doesn’t flip upside down, but if you spin it to the side, it straightens out. Although it’s an egg, it’s like the egg has a nose. If you spin that this stands on its side.