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113. A late 18th century guribori lacquer netsuke in the form of a hyotan that served the dual function as a container for powdered ink to accompany a sagemono of yataté. This is an exemplary work of the guri lacquer technique of alternating layers of black and red lacquer, here deeply carved and polished in stylized cloud patterns. Fitted with silver mounts to serve as himotoshi and stopper. Ex: Atchley Collection. Illustrated: The Virginia Atchley Collection of Japanese Miniature Arts, pg. 173, ills. N242.

Height: 5.7 cm

 

114. An antique tagua nut (vegetable ivory) netsuke of a happy farmer, the skin of the nut forming his winter head wrap. Signed Shogyoku. Circa 1870.

Height: 4.6 cm 

 

           
           

115. Kaeru, kaeru, kaeru:
A symphony of frogs, I can hear them now. Seimin, at his idiosyncratic best, created this cluster of eleven ‘good luck’ frogs on a pair of raffia sandals with lotus leaf and ceremonial drum. Is it a wonder that Seimin’s nickname was ‘Kaeru’? Meinertzhagen writes, “Seimin was an artist in the true sense, combining originality, even eccentricity in his designs and techniques, with fine craftsmanship. His work is always inspired with artistic feeling.” Marine ivory with lustrous patination. Mid-19th century. Ex: Hahn Collection. Illustrated: Netsuke from the Teddy Hahn Collection, Barry Davies Oriental Art, pg. 83, ills. 111. For similar, but smaller examples: Davey, pg. 262, ills. 812; The Baur Collection, pg. 311, ills. C947. 

Length: 5.0 cm

 

116. A powerful ball of double abundance; two rolling rats whose plump, supple bodies fill the hand and delight the eye from every angle. Skillfully carved with extraordinary realism, the natural himotoshi in obvious placement for functional efficiency. A remarkable netsuke whose largess is with fixed intention, to be a boon of prosperity for the wearer. Boxwood with umimatsu eyes. Signed Keimin. 

Length: 5.5 cm


           
           

117. The Junishi – 12 animals of the zodiac. The artist has adeptly arranged each beast comfortably in each other’s company to create a compact composition that is captivating from all directions. Signed Chokyusai.

Length: 4.9 cm

 

118. Absolute madness in this captivating anthropomorphic study of frogs wearing sumo aprons of lotus petals and mugwort while engaged in a sumo match. The highly animated referee has been caught between the contestants in all the excitement. Eyes inlaid in umimatsu. Signed Sozan. Okimono, circa 1880.

Height: 7.2 cm


           
           

119. This remarkable netsuke is carved from the hard shell of a kurumi (walnut) with 37 distinctive Noh and Kyogen theatrical masks. Clustered to appear random, but each one skillfully arranged in this compact composition. Signed Seimin. Circa 1830-40. Ex: Bushell Collection, Illustrated: Netsuke, Familiar and Unfamiliar, pg. 147, ills. 319.

Height: 3.8 cm

 

120. A most unusual antique ivory netsuke of two lanky frogs in juxtaposition upon a lotus pad, in parody of the Yin Yang symbol of balance and harmony. Attractively worn and patinated with a natural form himotoshi in the stem of the lotus pad. Eyes inlaid in brass. Circa 1840. Illustrated: Netsuke Through Three Centuries, Barry Davies Oriental Art, pg. 131, ills. 151.

Diameter: 4.0 cm


           
           

121. An antique ivory netsuke of a brilliantly carved anatomically correct miniature human skull, paradoxically graced with the presence of a smiling frog as symbol of rebirth. The natural himotoshi occurring at the base of the skull where it rests upon the spinal column. Late 19th century. Ex: Hahn Collection. Illustrated: Netsuke from the Teddy Hahn Collection, Barry Davies Oriental Art, pg. 109, ills. 153.

Length: 3.9 cm

 

122. An unusual kiri wood (paulownia) manju with high relief takazogan gold inlaid peony blossoms and gold lacquer kusadama (ceremonial flowerballs). Signed in seal form in gold lacquer on roiro ground, Bunsai. 19th century. Ex: F.P. Schneider Collection. Ex: Atchley Collection. Illustrated: Masterpieces of Netsuke Art, Bernard Hurtig, pg. 29, ills. 43. The Virginia Atchley Collection of Japanese Miniature Arts, pg. 171, ills. N238.

Diameter: 3.7 cm


           
           

123. A kagamibuta with a shakudo kaga of a takazogan – high relief collection of five painters’ seals inlaid in silver on the ishimei ground. Fitted in a buta of Korean pine with an attractive pronounced grain pattern. 19th century. Ex: Atchley Collection. Illustrated: The Virginia Atchley Collection of Japanese Miniature Arts, pg. 164, ills. N227.

Diameter: 4.2 cm

 

124. An absolutely mad spherical work of art in ivory. This sphere is deeply carved with a variety of frogs perpetually emerging from all directions of its surface. Created to symbolize an extraordinary abundance of good luck. Circa 1900-20.

Height: 7.0 cm, with stand

 

           
           

125. 18th century wood netsuke of a frog on a lotus seed pod. The frog symbolizes rebirth, the spring, rejuvenation. The lotus is the symbol of Buddhist teachings, and the seed pod is associated with abundance and new beginnings. Inscribed: ‘Carved at 79 years old.’ Attributed to Minko I. Ex: Hahn Collection. Illustrated: Netsuke from the Teddy Hahn Collection, Barry Davies Oriental Art, pg. 83, ills. 115.

Length: 4.2 cm

 

126. A boldly carved boxwood okimono of the tickler who hopes to create a sneeze. Sneezing was considered a healthy occurrence that encouraged vitality. This humorous study enjoys the absurdity of the willful practice to stimulate this natural bodily function. Teeth, eyes and tickling stick in ivory. Properly placed himotoshi, but unlikely such a large piece would function well as a netsuke. Signed Ryugyoku.

Height: 7.0 cm

 

           
           

127. An antique sakura (cherry wood) netsuke with a very unusual idiosyncratic frog nestled in a curled lotus leaf that rests upon the stalk of a seedpod. Both the frog and seeds are adeptly carved to be moving parts. Eyes inlaid in patinated silver. Circa 1880.

Length: 4.6 cm

 

128. A netsuke of dual function serving as both toggle and a container for powdered ink. This carefully chosen miniature gourd is beautifully detailed in fine lacquer with flowering gourd vines of takamakié and hiramakié in gold and shakudô. Banded at the waist in silver and finished with a silver chrysanthemum rim and stopper. Circa 1880. 

Height: 7.8 cm