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49. A netsuke of a seated Daruma with expression of resolute purpose. The artist has carved deep folds on the wise monk’s robes and mantle to create an appealing curvilinear composition. Hoop earrings of ivory and the irregular himotoshi are accented with an ivory surround. Signed Shumin. Circa 1840. 

Length: 4.0 cm

 

50. Gyokkei’s signature piece is this very well rendered seated figure of the sneezer who has tickled himself into sternutation. Compact and charming. Head tilts back and mouth agape. A netsuke intended to evoke a smile. Irregular himotoshi. Signed on an inlaid plaque Gyokkei. Early Meiji. 

Length: 3.9 cm


           
           

51. An antique Japanese carved boxwood netsuke of the rat catcher. This classic portrayal is an amusing study with an expression of total outrage as the catcher realizes that he has been duped by his clever adversary, who mocks his attempts. Signed Masayoshi.

Length: 4.2 cm

 

52. A young acrobat performing his skills in a forearmed balance, his face covered by a small shishi-mai. He wears tabis, to his waist is secured a small drum and fan and the veil of the mask is engraved with the design of a lotus blossom. Meiji period. 

Length: 4.5 cm


           
           

53. A boxwood netsuke mask of Okamé as Oto-Gozen, the young maiden Okamé, popular as a Kyogen mask, unlike the highly distorted masks of folk plays.  Taisho period, circa 1920.

Height: 4.1 cm

 

54. A boxwood okimono of seated pilgrim with a recalcitrant oni in his bag. The sculptural composition of this piece is brilliantly executed with diaphanous folds of fabric. It is a very tactile work of art with properly placed himotoshi, however, the scale would be unlikely to actually function as a netsuke. Details of eyes and teeth in ivory. Signed Ryugyoku.

Length: 6.5 cm


           
           

55. An ivory mask of a caricature of the fierce Tengu with knitted brow and intense gaze. The skilled potential of this mythological half bird, half man and master of the martial arts is felt in the expression of his powerful focus. Patinated ivory. Signed Mitsumasa. Late 19th century. 

Height: 6.8 cm

 

56. A Demé Uman netsuke mask representing Okina as it would have been seen in its ceremonial origins of village rites before it was adopted into the pantheon of the Noh Theater. Also engraved ‘Tenka-ichi’ (meaning ‘unique in this world’). Circa 1780.

Height: 4.8 cm

 

           
           

57. A delightful boxwood netsuke of a farm girl leading an ox carrying bundles of firewood and provisions tied in a furoshiki. Countenance of both farm girl and ox lends character to this charming narrative of Japanese 19th century country life. Signed Minkoku. Circa 1850. Ex: Avery Brundage Collection, Asian Art Museum, SF.

Length: 3.8 cm

 

58. 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

 

           
           

59. An engaging and most tactile netsuke of a rat with his companion peeking out from a perfectly coiled rope the likes of which one encounters on a fishing vessel. The two stow aways are obviously hopeful to share the catch of the day. Signed on two oval reserves Yasafusa (artist) to the left, and Anshōdō (atelier) to the right. 

Length: 5.4 cm

 

60. 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

 

           
           

61. A deeply patinated 17th century ivory netsuke of a seated sennin upon a rocky outcropping with mugwort leaves across his left shoulder and staff in his right hand. Characteristic wear, however, details still present. Large worn irregular himotoshi that opens from the base to the midsection of the back. 

Height: 4.3 cm

 

62. A sashi-style netsuke of a Dragon’s head, obviously inspired by Chinese artifacts of jade dragon belt buckles. The artist has, however, imbued his netsuke with more character than the source of his inspiration, with broad mouth grin for himotoshi, flared nostrils, knitted brow and metal inlaid eyes. Sakura wood. Early 19th century.

Length: 10.1 cm

 

           
           

63. A well-patinated ivory manju with a deep fleshy cameo carved portrait of Kikujido, the chrysanthemum boy, holding petals in his left hand with his ink stone and brush to his right side. The opposing side carved with a poetic image of a gnarled scholar’s rock beneath a rising half-moon. Signed with engraved character Hojitsu. Ex: Atchley Collection. Illustrated: The Virginia Atchley Collection of Japanese Miniature Arts, pg. 250, ills. IN70.

Diameter: 4.0 cm

 

64. An ivory mask of Ema-o, guide of souls, who according to Buddhist tradition is a fierce manifestation of Jizo, the Bodhisattva of Deliverance. Ema-o (sometimes referred to as king of hell) terrifies as a skillful means to lead wayward souls to deliverance, encouraging them to escape the round of birth and death. His fierce countenance burns away the impurities attached to the human heart. Signed Yamaji Mitsuyuki. Circa 1880. 

Height: 6.9 cm

 

 

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