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33. An 18th century Kyoto School ivory netsuke of a rat in the traditional New Year’s winnowing basket with fern fronds, bamboo and rope. Collectively, they represent a garnering of good fortune and abundance in the year to come. Perhaps this netsuke would have been chosen to be worn for New Year’s festivities. Well patinated with large irregular himotoshi.

Length: 4.4 cm


34. A boxwood netsuke of a double edamamé with leaves and vine in a beautiful sculptural composition, both tactile and pleasing to the eye. Edamamé were a staple of this agrarian culture and their pods of mini beans were symbolic of abundance. Well patinated with characteristic wear to the high points and a well-worn himotoshi. Circa 1800.

Length: 5.2 cm



35. An 18th century boxwood netsuke of a dragon coiled in a compact composition that expresses the contained power of this mythological force of nature. He holds within his talon a tama, the pearl of wisdom. Well patinated and worn at the high points with amber inlaid eyes.

Length: 5.2 cm


36. Sambiki Saru: “Hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil,” but as we all know, ‘saru’ is by nature a naughty, sensual creature and these three have just devoured the flesh of a delectable chestnut, symbol of female fecundity. An ingenious composition of remarkable detail. Signed Chikusai. 

Length: 3.4 cm


37. An ivory netsuke of two frogs engaged in a sumo wrestling match, their arena the top of a curled lotus leaf. A similar example by the artist of this subject of frog and lotus is illustrated in Davey, Pg. 60, Ills. 146. A study, however, with two such frogs and the added anthropomorphic narrative is most unusual. Richly patinated with a natural himotoshi formed by the stem of the lotus leaf. Signed Yoshitomo in an oval reserve. Late 18th century. Ex: Marcel Lorber Collection. Ex: Carré Collection. Illustrated: Netsuke and Inro from European Collections, Barry Davies Oriental Art, pg. 17, ills. 7. 

Length: 6.4 cm


38. 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


39. A boxwood netsuke of a double dragon mokugyo. The dragons are highly animated with taloned claws emerging on both sides. The ears are folded back followed by horned ridges surrounded by scrolling curls of mane. They are joined at the belly of the gong with overlapping scales. Nose to nose and chin to chin, they pass a loose ball, symbol of the pearl of wisdom, back and forth. Signed Kyusai. Circa 1920.

Length: 3.6 cm


40. A well patinated boxwood netsuke of a long eared hare and young, huddled together, their plump bodies forming a very tactile composition. Eyes inlaid in amber. Signed Shuzan. Early to mid-19th century.

Length: 3.8 cm


41. A boxwood and ebony netsuke of the famous courtier Ono no Tofu (894-966), whose observation of the perseverance of a frog inspired him to achieve greatness. This wonderful narrative is told by a convivial exchange between the courtier and the frog that rests on his geta gazing at Ono with rapt attention. Well patinated with characteristic wear. Signed Hojitsu (Yamada Hojitsu of Edo). Mid-19th century. Ex: Dr. John Strong Collection. Ills. Barry Davies Oriental Art, June 2002.  

Height: 6.3 cm


42. An ivory netsuke of Rakan Kavi Sonja seated on his companion shishi enjoying a playful moment with what one would presume to be a young karako, however, the snailscurl headdress denotes the personage of Buddha as a young boy. The Rakan’s monastic robe is draped over one shoulder where he rests a lotus leaf scepter. Signed Issai. 19th century.

Height: 3.5 cm



43. A boar’s tusk netsuke with a raised finely carved rendering of a crouched frog with expressive face and double inlaid eyes of amber and umimatsu. Style of Kaigyokusai. Late 19th century.

Length: 8.8 cm


44. A rather humorous late 18th century ivory netsuke study of a wolf driven cross eyed mad by his futile attempts to devour a tortoise who remains safely secured within his carapace. Well patinated with characteristic wear to the high points. Signed Okakoto in a rectangular reserve. 

Length: 5.1 cm


45. A most unusual netsuke composition that depicts the legend of Kikujido, the chrysanthemum boy. Here he rests nestled among the petals of what by scale is a massive Fuji Chrysanthemum in full bloom. Kikujido was banished to spare his life for having gazed upon the countenance of his liege lord Emperor Muh Wang. The emperor loved his liege and bestowed upon him a mantra of compassion to inscribe on the petals of kiku blossoms that grew in abundance in the valley of his exile. Detailed beneath the blossom with a fine silver metal leaf, studded with gold dew drops. Signed Koyu. Middle 19th century. Ex: Bernard Kotkin Collection.

Length: 4.5 cm


46. An early 18th century netsuke of a standing Shoki with sword drawn in the saishiki technique of painted cypress. Worn from 300 years of hand held attention.

Height: 6.6 cm



47. The rat, Daikoku’s companion and symbol of prosperity, is here represented in an abundant cluster. Two adults and ten little ones carved in a composition of perpetual motion with a scattering of bean pods that are also associated with plentitude. Finely detailed hairwork and eyes inlaid in umimatsu. Signed Masatsugu. Late 19th century.

Length: 5.0 cm


48. A most charming Inu Hariko – toy dog, a traditional folk talisman of protection and a symbol of loyalty. Kyo-yaki painted earthenware from the late 19th century. Signed Meizan.

Length: 3.6 cm