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129. A netsuke study of a very congenial Gama Sennin wearing mugwort cape, resting upon a scholar’s rock with his companion the 3-legged toad of happiness. Carved of walrus ivory where the composition ingeniously incorporates the granular nerve cavity of this difficult material. This netsuke is so idiosyncratic as to be definitively attributed to Chogetsu. Mid-19th century. 

Height: 4.0 cm


130. Kokei, at his very sensitive best, this frog resting upon a worn raffia sandal is of extraordinary detail. The sandal’s woven fibers drape and separate in the most naturalistic manner and the frog has a quality of movement, even in his resting pose. The rope of the upturned sandal forms the natural himotoshi. Signed in a rectangular reserve with paper labels remaining from an old collection. Circa 1810.

Length: 4.8 cm



131. A dark stained boxwood netsuke of a frog on a curled leaf. A very appealing compact composition, the countenance of this frog bearing a much more sentient presence than what one would usually see for this subject. The amphibious skin carved in a realistic technique of low relief with eyes inlaid in umimatsu. Takayama, Hida Province. Circa 1830. Ex: Huthart Collection. Illustrated: The Robert S. Huthart Collection of Non-Iwami Netsuke, Barry Davies Oriental Art, pg. 247, ills. 184.

Length: 4.6 cm


132. An antique Japanese boxwood netsuke of a frog on a lotus root. The composition is appealing for both its functional integrity and its tactile, well-defined detail. This subject alludes to the Buddhist practice of metta, where one wishes to know happiness and the root of happiness for oneself and others. The lotus, a symbol of Buddhist wisdom and the frog, a harbinger of good fortune. Eyes inlaid in amber and seeds in umimatsu. Early to mid-19th century.

Length: 5.0 cm


133. A mystical occurrence as a sweet Ama rests upon a mollusc summoning a swirl of shells to shelter her. This diving girl with her grass skirt and bare midriff is portrayed in a most imaginative composition that is unique to our experience. Circa 1830. Ex: Tomkinson Collection.

Length: 4.3 cm


134. An antique Japanese boxwood netsuke depicting a rare narrative subject. The great Han hero Chorio (Chang Liang) is kneeling in an act of humility beside a bridge holding the lost shoe of Kose Kiko (Hwan Shi Kung, the Yellowstone Elder) who is crossing on horseback. The great mystic Kose Kiko later agrees to teach Chorio the secrets of his powers. Circa 1840. Signed Shumin.

Height: 4.8 cm


135. An antique ivory netsuke of the symbols of prosperity, abundance and good health. A ‘kinchaku’ – coin purse, a rat – mascot of Daikoku the god of wealth, and a mushroom that here functions as the netsuke to carry the kinchaku. Well patinated with irregular himotoshi and eyes inlaid. Circa 1820.

Length: 4.8 cm


136. A marvelous contemporary ceramic netsuke by the late artist Armin Muller depicting a frog clambering over a section of timber bamboo. Symbols of good luck and strength, respectively, Armin’s inspiration for this netsuke is a talisman of good fortune for the wearer. Fine vitreous porcelain with celadon glaze. Signed with his characteristic go, Mizu. 

Height: 4.4 cm


137. 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


138. Stag antler frog on pitcher plant. Quote by artist Tom Sterling, “Fairly large for a netsuke at about three inches in diameter, I couldn’t bring myself to cut down this magnificent deer antler crown any smaller. I took my inspiration from a college botany class field trip to a nearby Florida swamp, where I watched a small green tree frog raiding the dead insects in some pitcher plants. Simple inlaid ebony eyes.” 

Length: 6.7 cm


139. A sakura (cherry wood) manju netsuke depicting implements of Chanoyu, the traditional tea ceremony. The utensils shown are the sumi tori – charcoal basket, the haboki – feather brush for ashes, and the hibachi – iron tongs for tending fire, all carved in inlaid mother of pearl. The overall ground of the manju has been carved in a continuous pattern of florets within six sided tortoise shell kikko mon. Mother of pearl lined himotoshi. Signed in the interior Rensha. Ex: Atchley Collection. Illustrated: The Virginia Atchley Collection of Japanese Miniature Arts, pg. 160, ills. N221.

Diameter: 3.8 cm


140. A humorous netsuke study of the rolling Daruma – eight times down nine time up, symbol of perseverance, as this great patriarch of Zen Buddhism remained seated in meditation for a period of nine years. Carved from the very difficult material of a kurumi (walnut shell). Signed in an oval reserve Issan. Early 19th century.

Height: 3.0 cm



141. 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


142. 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