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57. A stag antler sashi-style netsuke, the surface of which has been rendered to simulate a woven bamboo basket. Meiji period. 

Height: 10.6 cm

 

58. A sashi-style netsuke carved both sides in cameo with gnarled pine and scholar's rock, symbols of strength and endurance. The reverse has a large-scale engraved signature reading Takayama with inscription Sozan below to the left. Hide Takayama School.  

Height: 15.7 cm


           
           

59. A 19th century kagamibuta (netsuke in the form of a mirror plate in a bowl) depicting Ebisu, the Shinto God of Abundance, kneeling before a mortar and pestle preparing a potion of wellbeing. Executed in the techniques of a shibuichi ground with takazogan (high relief) inlay in silver, gold and shakudo and a detail of his attribute, the fishing pole, in katakiribori. Signed Mingyoku.

Diameter: 4.2 cm

 

60. A very dynamic 19th century Japanese kagamibuta of an enlightened Sennin seated in a state of samadhi, symbolically represented by the countenance of the Buddha that he reveals in his heart space and the gilded nimbus that surrounds him. Like a painting in raised metalwork, there is presence in his intense gaze, the movement in his diaphanous robes and the smoke of his incense burner. Given the attribute of his very long eyebrows, this is likely a portrait of Sariputra, one of the most venerated disciples of the Buddha.

Diameter: 4.4 cm


           
           

61. A netsuke nature study of a stacked tortoise and young sunning themselves, a familiar sight on the rocks that surround forest lakes. Highly functional for its compact composition and attractively detailed with characteristic wear to the high points. Signed Sadamitsu on the base of the carapace.

Length: 4.5 cm

 

62. The skillful netsuke artist Kogyoku was inspired by the charm to be found in the intimate moments of daily life. Here a young beauty fresh from the bath is attending to grooming her toes while her loose yukata slips from supple shoulders to decolletage, and legs are exposed to keep the textile from impeding her task. The ease with which this keenly observed figure has been represented suggests that the model might be a familiar part of the artist's life. Signed Kogyoku.

Height: 3.5 cm


           
           

63. A positively mad netsuke mask of the Kyogen Oji type. Such wild expression was only to be seen in the highly animated theatrics of the celebrated Kyogen folk plays that were so popular amongst the people of Meiji period Japan. Signed Mitsuyuki.

Height: 6.1 cm

 

64. A Kappa has run off with a fisherman's reed bundle of Fruits de Mer. He struggles under the weight of his prize, unawares that another predator has sights on his ill-gotten gain. This netsuke has a new twist on subject and material for Ikkyu whose octopus with reed bundle and kappa with cucumber are more often found. Large inlaid eyes and a sense of humor are signature traits for this artist. Warm glossy patina. Signed Ikkyu within a reserve. Mid-19th century.

Height: 5.2 cm

 

           
           

65. 'Ama' or Sea Women are the pearl divers of Japan. When portrayed in netsuke and paired with octopus, there is the suggestion of intimacy of an erogenous nature. This Ama is leaning to her right hip appearing to be fending off his advances with her right forearm while holding a fleshy clam in her left hand. By her expression she is accustomed to his advances. Signed Mitsutoshi. Late 19th century.

Height: 4.1 cm

 

66. An extraordinary netsuke of the Bugaku Dance of the Dragon King - Ranryo, depicted here in the full regalia of the richly embroidered robes and dynamic dragon mask first imported during the golden age of Buddhism of Japan's Imperial Nara period (710-794). Isshu has created infinitesimal detail in his signature technique of inked engraving with designs of flaming pearls of wisdom amongst celestial clouds and a three-dimensional dragon headdress. Signed Isshu with gold seal kanji to denote the artist's pride in his work. For a further example of his work see, NETSUKE - 100 Miniature Masterpieces from Japan by Noriko Tsuchiya, Illus. pg. 104 of a cluster of 15 Noh masks and a similar example of Noh masks from the Prince Takamado Collection, Illus. pg. 24, pl. 34 Tokyo National Museum 2011.

Gagaku, literally "elegant music", are rhythmic and sophisticated music and dance performances supported by the Imperial Household since the 9th century and reserved for celebrations sponsored by the Imperial Household and the great temples and shrines of Japan. There are performances solely for voices, known as Mi-Kagura or god music, instrumental music played by the full orchestra called Kangen and masked dances accompanied only by a few instruments known as Bugaku dances.

Height: 5.2 cm

 

           
           

67. A highly refined netsuke depicting the performance of Okina, the serene, wise and happy old man. This ritual dance originated in the Nara period (710-94) and had once been performed exclusively by priests. For special performances of the Noh theater there is a ceremonial opening dance of Okina that is a ritual to bring health, happiness and longevity to all those in attendance. This is the only performance where the mask arrives carried by an attendant in a men-bako and the actor dons the mask while knelling at an altar on stage.

Kishi Isshu has replicated the elaborate traditional robes, mask and headdress with extraordinary detail. The precisely inked, engraved surface of this netsuke lends texture to the textiles and the sacred crane of wisdom and longevity features prominently in its design along with stylized pine, a symbol of strength and endurance. Signed Isshu with gold seal kanji to denote the artist's pride in his work. For a further example of his work see, NETSUKE - 100 Miniature Masterpieces from Japan by Noriko Tsuchiya, Illus. pg. 104 of a cluster of 15 Noh masks and a similar example of Noh masks from the Prince Takamado Collection, Illus. pg. 24, pl. 34 Tokyo National Museum 2011.

Height: 5.4 cm

 

 

 

           
           

 

 

 

 

 

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