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145. A classic Toyomasa boxwood netsuke depicting a coiled dragon with celestial flames emerging from the inside of a pumpkin. The natural himotoshi is formed by the leaf and stem. Eyes inlaid in translucent horn. Signed Toyomasa. Edo Period, circa 1820.

Length: 3.6 cm


146. A tactile and aesthetically pleasing composition of a saru emerging from the hollowed belly of a large chestnut. Well patinated with finely detailed hair work and chestnut shell characteristically worn at the high points. Eyes double inlaid in translucent horn and umimatsu. Tamba School. Late 18th century.

Length: 3.7 cm



147. Boxwood netsuke of a snail on a water bucket. Details of ebony inlaid studs. Signed Masanao. Early 19th century. Ex: Hahn Collection. Illustrated: Netsuke from the Teddy Hahn Collection, pg. 79, ills. 107.

Length: 3.7 cm


148. An elegant antique boxwood netsuke of a cicada. The composition very pleasing to the eye and tactile to the touch. Well patinated with details of veining in the wings and a natural form himotoshi through the legs of the insect. Circa 1840.

Length: 6.7 cm


149. A rather humorous depiction of a fish with a very toothy grin. The character imbued in this netsuke may find some context in a popular Soto Zen metaphor of the time. It was described that our Buddha-nature is already apparent if we were just to release the notions of our cursory mind and allow the realization to reveal itself. Much as the fish swims in water but is not even aware of the existence of the water. Wood with double inlaid eyes, awabi shell fins and ivory teeth. Circa 1890-1900.

Length: 8.2 cm


150. A well patinated wood netsuke of a rat and a bean pod, both symbols of abundance. The plump, supple body of the rat is sensitively portrayed with a pleasing expression, the composition compact and tactile. Signed Ikkan, a revered artist and priest of the Kiosanji Temple in Nagoya.

Length: 4.2 cm


151. This netsuke of a frog on a well bucket is a classic study of the Yamada School with all the sensitive refinement collectors have come to appreciate. The frog finely modeled with nuance of body language and amphibious skin, the well bucket with signs of attrition and deep eroded grain pattern. Both inlaid eyes and nailed brads detailed in umimatsu. Signed Masanao.

Height: 3.8 cm


152. A charming bizen yaki netsuke of a smiling shojo, the sea sprite and Shinto god of saké and happy felicitations. Bizen yaki is a high-fired stoneware that requires two weeks of continual firing for temperatures to rise, fire and then recede sufficient to the creation of this remarkable pottery. The characteristic iron glaze was developed with the intention to simulate the appearance of bronze, at a time when metals were too precious for the manufacture of arms and armor to be spared for the creation of functional works of art. Signed with stamped seal reading Sekisen. Late 19th century. Ex: Atchley Collection. Illustrated: The Virginia Atchley Collection of Japanese Miniature Arts, pg. 143, ills. N193.

Height: 4.7 cm


153. A Kyogen theater folk mask of the early 1800’s depicting an old man with a broad mouthed grin. Possibly a depiction of a Taoist Immortal whose long whiskers, symbolic of his wisdom, have been gathered and tied to form the himotoshi. Well patinated. Signed Tomin. Ex: Atchley Collection. Illustrated: The Virginia Atchley Collection of Japanese Miniature Arts, pg. 143, ills. N194.

Height: 4.4 cm


154. A well patinated boxwood netsuke mask of Okina, the archetypal old man mask, symbol of wisdom that is donned at the ceremonial opening of the traditional Noh Theater. Gentle countenance with ivory inlaid detail. Signed Masatomo. Early 1800’s. Ex: Atchley Collection. Illustrated: The Virginia Atchley Collection of Japanese Miniature Arts, pg. 145, ills. N197.

Height: 4.1 cm


155. A very well defined boxwood netsuke cluster of five principle Noh masks, including Kijo, Magojiro, Fukai, Uzume, and Kintaro with his flaming axe. Each mask is a complete three dimensional rendering. Middle 1800’s. Ex: Atchley Collection. Illustrated: The Virginia Atchley Collection of Japanese Miniature Arts, pg. 146, ills. N199. 

Height: 4.1 cm


156. A charming interpretation of frog on a kabocha stem, symbols of good luck and abundance, respectively. The artist has created a composition both tactile and attractive for its use of contrasting surfaces and linear detail. Eyes inlaid in umimatsu. Signed Tokoku with irregular himotoshi. 

Length: 5.0 cm



157. Absolute madness in this captivating anthropomorphic study of frogs wearing sumo aprons of lotus petals and mugwort while engaged in a sumo match. The highly animated referee has been caught between the contestants in all the excitement. Eyes inlaid in umimatsu. Signed Sozan. Okimono, circa 1880.

Height: 7.2 cm