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1. A stag antler netsuke by the late Guy Shaw of remarkable power and ingenuity. Guy Shaw was an artist recognized for both his brilliant imagination and ability to adapt found materials as a functional art form. He has taken a cross section of stag antler to render a circling rain dragon, utilizing the pith of this difficult material to express a gathering of storm clouds. Here he has comingled the legends of east and west as this dragon appears to swallow his tail, a cyclical reference of the ancient Ouroboros (symbolizing infinity). Gold seal signature placque, Guy Shaw (British 1951-2003).

Length: 5.5 cm

 

2. ‘Kaeru’ frog and young, a double boon of good fortune, this highly refined example of the Yamada School with its accomplished ukibori technique has a tactile pleasure in hand and a sensitivity in its composition. Eyes inlaid in ebony. Signed Masanao.

Length: 3.9 cm

 

           
           

3. A boxwood netsuke of a kneeling Okamé enjoying the pleasures of a massage given by her skeleton companion. A parody on the Buddhist teaching of the transitory nature of life’s pleasures. Circa 1880.

Height: 5.6 cm

 

4. A well detailed boxwood netsuke of a parrot holding a crab with its talons, the parrot's eyes inlaid with light horn, the crabs with dark horn. Signed Tadatoshi in raised ukibori technique. Nagoya School, early 19th century. Ex: Bosshard Collection. Illustrated: The NetsukeCollection of W.G. Bosshard, Pt. I, Barry Davies Oriental Art, ills. 56.

Length: 3.7 cm

 

           
           

5. A shibuichi kagamibuta with katakiribori (uneven engraving simulating brush strokes, like a painting in metal) portraits of the nobleman Kwan Yu with his faithful retainer, Tcheoutsang by the artist Zeiraku. Late 1700’s. 

Diameter: 4.7 cm

 

6. This Setsubun Oni is desperately seeking refuge in a wooden masu from the hot soybeans intended to drive him away during the annual New Year’s festivities. His well defined muscular body is contorted in his efforts to fit into such a small space. This composition is most tactile with the contrasting textures of this highly functional netsuke. Signed Masakazu.

Length: 3.3 cm

 
           
           

7. A cluster of 20 Noh theater masks carved in a ryusa manju style of netsuke.  Each mask poignant in its intended conveyance of drama. Well patinated. Signed Issai. Circa 1800.

Diameter: 4.5 cm

 

8. A dual function guri lacquer double gourd netsuke with a bronze hasp and threaded stopper intended to also function to carry powdered ink for a tsuitaté. Late 1700's.

Height: 5.7 cm

 
           
           

9. A rare rutilated quartz crystal netsuke of a stylized tortoise, the surface engraved with the details of his carapace. Circa 1850.

Length: 3.3 cm

 

10. Boxwood study of frog on pumpkin stem with a most unusual carved treatment of the rendering of amphibious skin and a rather humorous protrusion of his bug snatching tongue ready to snatch his prey. Eyes double inlaid in amber and umimatsu. Signed Sukenaga.

Length: 5.7 cm

 
           
           

11. An 18th century Noh mask netsuke depicting a manifestation of Beshimi. A striking countenance with boldly carved contours characteristic of this masterful school of mask makers. Signed Deme Uman.

Height: 4.4 cm

 

12. An ivory netsuke of the Shinto God of Happiness, Hotei, with an expression of sheer delight, enjoying the endearing antics of a baby who plays with a clam shell, symbol of the feminine attribute from which he has recently emerged. Luminous patina with irregular himotoshi and umimatsu detail. Signed Masatsugu. Circa 1790-1810.

Height: 5.2 cm

 

           
           

13. A two-part sandalwood and lacquer manju with a very shibui aesthetic of a hiramakié and takamakié snail on a ground of clear lacquer over a pronounced wood grain. Signed in gold lacquer, Tōshi (Iizuka Tōyō III) with kakihan. Museum number on the interior lid. Circa 1800.

Diameter: 3.6 cm

 

14. A repoussé shibuichi metalwork dual function compass netsuke depicting a celestial dragon amid swirling clouds. Hand engraved details of overlapping scales and whiskers. Circa 1840.

Diameter: 4.6 cm

 

           
           

15. A hand tooled beppu ironwork filigree netsuke in the form of a clam shell with spirals, swirls and florets. This highly distinctive style of metalwork is to be found in the Kobei region of Japan. Circa 1800.

Length: 4.9 cm

 

16. Gyokusai is credited as the originator of this humorous netsuke parody of the seduction of feminine wiles. Here the hapless male is caught by his fundoshi within the lips of a clam, the Japanese archetypal symbol of the female sex. Well patinated. Signed Gyokusai. Circa 1810.

Height: 4.0 cm