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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. A netsuke by Hojitsu, netsukeshi to the Daimyo of Tsugaru depicting an oxherd playing his flute, a basket and scythe hung over his shoulder. The recumbent ox upon which he rests has his head lifted and ears turned back as if not to miss a note of his masters playing. The ox is of ebony with pewter reigns and the oxherd of boxwood. Similar example in The Hull Grundy Collection, ills. 34.

Length: 4.4 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. A boxwood netsuke, unusual for its depiction of two squirrels, their plump bodies and bushy tails huddled together to form a compact composition that is both highly functional and well detailed. Their respective tails formed two natural himotoshi through which the cord could pass and served as a versatile opportunity for the owner to wear this netsuke in either direction. Signed Mitsukuni.

Length: 4.1 cm


39. A rare netsuke of the early 1700’s is this ivory horse emerging from the magic gourd of Sennin Chokwaro. This piece demonstrates the aji of 300 years of appreciation with a rich lustrous patina and a well-worn himotoshi. 

Length: 4.3 cm


40. A late 18th Century boxwood netsuke of a 'Chen' Japanese pug, playfully clambering over an overturned mortar beneath which an octopus is entrapped. The octopus is the physician of the sea, the mortar is for the preparation of medicines and the pug is the symbol of healthy male progeny. In all a talisman of protective intent. The very idiosyncratic carving and the characteristic double eye inlay of the octopus is in the style of Miwa.

Length: 3.3 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 silver lacquer netsuke of a stylized chidori, a subject inspired by the traditional legend of the 'Tongue cut Sparrow'. On the back are two lacquered fan panels depicting the 'Sho Chiku Bai' or 3 winter friends of strength and endurance; the pine, bamboo and plum, respectively. Characteristically rubbed at the high points. Circa 1870. Old Collection number 80.0322.

Width: 3.5 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