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81. A caparisoned white elephant with expressive face standing upon a pedestal. The white elephant is long a Buddhist symbol associated as the harbinger of the birth of the Buddha. Detailed with lacquer and inlay of coral and turquoise. Signed Meizan. Meiji/Taisho.

Height: 4.0 cm

 

82. A charming bizen yaki netsuke of a smiling shojo, the sea sprite and Shinto god of saké and happy felicitations. Bizen yaki is a high-fired stoneware that requires two weeks of continual firing for temperatures to rise, fire and then recede sufficient to the creation of this remarkable pottery. The characteristic iron glaze was developed with the intention to simulate the appearance of bronze, at a time when metals were too precious for the manufacture of arms and armor to be spared for the creation of functional works of art. Signed with stamped seal reading Sekisen. Late 19th century. Ex: Atchley Collection. Illustrated: The Virginia Atchley Collection of Japanese Miniature Arts, pg. 143, ills. N193.

Height: 4.7 cm

 

           
           

83. Yasusada Shuzan brings life to this expression of Hotei, Shinto God of Happiness. In Hotei’s corpulent form, we see the largess of spirit that the Japanese people treasure in this cultural icon. Broad grinned and bright eyed, he rests leaning upon his sack of toys and treats for the happy children who follow him. A compact, tactile netsuke with lustrous patina. Signed Shuzan. Circa 1830. 

Length: 5.0 cm

 

84. A kagamibuta with takazogan portrait of Tenjin standing by meadow grass, his robes blowing in the wind, inspired by a pair of loons in flight. Tenjin is the Shinto deity of poets and scholars, his origin that of the deified personage Sugawara no Michizane (845-903). Mid 1800’s.

Diameter: 4.4 cm


           
           

85. Two tipsy frogs attempt to tip the contents of a sake gourd into their drinking bowl. A most unusual netsuke made of the tagua nut (vegetable ivory), skillfully carved to render amphibious skin and details within a composition that required accommodating the organic constraints of the material. Circa 1880.

Length: 5.0 cm

 

86. An unusual kagamibuta with the mirror plate sculpted and pierced like that of an eroding lotus leaf and embellished with a dancing frog and lotus blossom.

Diameter: 4.6 cm


           
           

87. A kagamibuta with fine married metalwork of gilded shakudo takazogan and inlaid hirazogan depicting a portrait of the great actor Danjuro V, in his renowned portrayal of ‘Shibaraku’, the role of a legendary samurai warrior. Set within an ivory bowl. 19th century.

Diameter: 4.5 cm

 

88. A unique Hida School netsuke by the artist Ryosai who was also admired for his skill in the making of tea ceremony objects. The influence of the aesthetic tastes of the art of tea are present in this marvelous nature study. The tortoise and the reishi fungus are symbols associated with wisdom, health and longevity. This is a dual function netsuke to serve as both personal seal and toggle and was likely a commissioned work for a patron of discerning tastes.

Height: 4.2 cm


           
           

89. A marvelous boxwood folk art ‘mingei’ netsuke of a cheerful Okamé on one side and the reverse depicting Hyottoku, the stirrer of the elixir of immortality, symbols of mirth and good health, respectively. A clever natural himotoshi through the nostrils of Hyottoku. Late 18th century.

Height: 5.0 cm

 

90. A boxwood wolf and skull, Buddhist symbols of impermanence. The wolf is seated with his left forepaw resting on the top of a human skull. His head turned to the left and looking behind, he appears to be laughing. Signed Issan. Circa 1850.

Length: 4.0 cm


           
           

91. An ivory netsuke of a young Bijin naked to the waist while kneeling before a basin washing her hair. The sensitive detail of this netsuke is within a composition that is both compact and structurally sound. The artist has used the material to his advantage to convey the variant textures of skin and fabric, hair and water. Signed Seiyu. Late 19th century.

Length: 4.1 cm

 

92. An ivory netsuke of a cluster of clams by the great master of Sukashibori, Adachi Masanobu, a samurai of the Owari Clan. The interior carvings are of landscapes associated with traditional pilgrimages to famous temples. Signed Fuji Masanobu. Circa 1860.   

Length: 4.2 cm

 

           
           

93. An extremely expressive netsuke mask of Emma-O with flared nostrils, bulging eyes and knitted brow. Although he is acknowledged as the powerful King of Hell, in esoteric Buddhism Emma-O is recognized as a manifestation of Avalokiteshvara, or Jizo, as he is commonly known to the Japanese. The belief is that Emma-O reveals the causes of suffering and the path to salvation. In the center of the crown of this netsuke is the sacred tama, a jewel that signifies the bestowal of blessings on all who suffer, for it grants wishes, pacifies desires, and brings clear understanding of the Dharma (Buddhist law). Kakihan illustrated, Bushell’s Netsuke Masks, pg. 193, pl. 235. 

Height: 3.8 cm

 

94. A most engaging and well detailed ivory netsuke of Shojo (saké god) and minogamé (sacred tortoise) engaged in a playful tug of war over an upturned saké bowl. They have consumed the contents of this bowl, the effects having obviously initiated this lively drinking game. The composition finely detailed, yet maintaining functional integrity. Signed Shomin. Circa 1860.

Length: 3.6 cm

 

           
           

 95. In appreciation for the bounty of the garden, this lustrous wood netsuke is a cluster of Japanese culinary favorites. Beautifully carved and arranged in a composition to be enjoyed at every turn. A talisman of plenty. Signed Yasumasa. 19th century.

Length: 4.2 cm

 

96. A boxwood netsuke of a ferry boat carrying travelers both common and profound. Shoki rests in the center being fanned from behind by Kiku Jido, the oarsman is an oni tamed in service. On the stern there is a finely woven basket of molluscs and the river waves lap across the hull. Signed Ikkosai.

Length: 5.8 cm

 

 

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