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49. A late 18th Century wood netsuke of a determined octopus bursting out of a cracked tsubo, his head, beak and two tentacles already freed. A large awabi has adhered itself to the side of the jar, as well as various other molluscs. Signed Yoshimasa, Iwami School. Ex: Jordon Collection. Ex: Hahn Collection. Illustrated: Netsuke from the Teddy Hahn Collection, Barry Davies Oriental Art, pg. 43, ills. 51. 

Length: 3.5 cm

 

50. An ivory seal form netsuke of a Dutchman with a handheld gong heralding a very animated dromedary. Such fantastic beasts were brought to Deshima Island by the Dutch as a startling amazement to the historical Japanese populace. Late 18th century. Ex: Bushell Collection. Ex: Dr. Hoerrmann Collection. Illustrated: Netsuke, Familiar and Unfamiliar, pg. 200, ills. 594.  Netsuke and Inro from European Collections, Barry Davies Oriental Art, pg. 113, ills. 127. 

Height: 4.1 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 narwhal ivory netsuke of a shishi seated on a platform base in the style of old seals with his left paw raised on a ball. The composition is carved to incorporate the natural rind of this rare material along the spine and across the curled mane. Signed Kohosai. Mid-19th Century.

Height: 3.5 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. A large scale ivory netsuke of a cluster of five horses nestled together, at least two of which are obviously stallions, which leads one to wonder if the center horse is perhaps a mare, who by her expression appears to be enjoying all this attention. The artist has rendered each beast with attentive detail to spine and hoof, mane and brow, even the grain of the ivory appears to be creatively utilized in the composition. Signed Tomonobu. The signature placque has been strategically placed to serve as a natural himotoshi. Circa 1850-60.

Length: 5.3 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. An unusual boxwood netsuke of a carpenter seated with his left leg folded up on a rough hewn pillar cutting notches with a hammer and chisel, his discarded left raffia sandal by his right foot. A genre subject rarely encountered in this art form. Old collection number on the base. Himotoshi placed as if old knots in the wood had left the openings. Circa 1890.

Length: 5.7 cm

 

62. A realistic boxwood netsuke of a chestnut that appears to have been nibbled by insects. Looking closer we see that revealed beyond its opening is a cavern with mountainous landscape, of the Taoist paradise of the Immortals. Signed Bokuzan. Circa 1870.

Length: 3.9 cm

 

           
           

63. 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

 

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