Haunted Relic Axe
An animate hand axe that can be encountered in TORaIKI/Fruitbat Factory's 2013 99 Spirits computer roleplaying video game. Tsukumogami (which translates to something like "tool spirit" or "haunted relic"; the kanji characters are also a homonym for the phrase "ninety-nine gods", thus the double meaning of the game's title) are mundane, everyday items that have acquired souls and come to life. In Japan's native animistic religion, Shinto, spirits can, and do, inhabit inanimate objects as well as people, animals, and plants. Very old personal items (typically those reaching their hundredth birthday) are the most likely to become Tsukumogami, as are objects that have taken offense at being abused/neglected (allowed to rust, fallen into disrepair, etc.) or carelessly discarded after years of faithful service.
While they're malicious in the game, historically, Tsukumogami are relatively harmless, preferring to frighten people, or cause minor mischief, rather than doing any serious harm. For example, a possessed axe might float through the air towards a person, making menacing swipes, but that would only be a theatrical display; it wouldn't actually attempt to injure or kill you. Alternatively, perhaps the implement would hack apart an item that the victim likes, or needs (such as its modern chainsaw replacement), to teach them a lesson, or chop wood all night long to keep them awake. The best way to avoid a haunting by a Tsukumogami is to treat your possessions with respect--keep them clean and in good operating condition. In Japan, valued items that are no longer useful, particularly dolls/figures, are sometimes consecrated and "retired" in cremating ceremonies at temples, to honor them and prevent their transformation into Tsukumogami. Similarly, small shrines can be found across the country that exist solely to honor and appease useful, everyday tools and objects. All I can say is that it's a good thing Tsukumogami aren't real, because I own a ton of stuff that would have legitimate complaints about how poorly I treat and store them.
It looks like something I'd enjoy, but I've never actually played 99 Spirits. However, a fellow DevianArt member contacted me and suggested that the creatures in said title might be something that I'd be interested in modeling, and even went so far as to send me image files for the entire bunch. A number of them appeal to me, but this vintage hand axe is the one that I liked the most (I have a fondness for sentient weapons).
Lined white paper, newsprint, tissue paper, white glue, and acrylic paint.
The axe handle is 5.0 cm (2.0") long and the axe head is 2.8 cm (1.1") in width at its widest point.
2-3 hours on July 17, 2014.