A boxwood kiseru-zutsu of Buddhist allegory where Emma-O presides holding his tablet of authority before a latticework temple screen. In esoteric Buddhism, Emma-O is a fierce manifestation of compassionate intent where souls suffering from the ignorance from their misdeeds make restitution in purgatory. The deity’s prominence is enhanced with the metalwork technique of takazogan in bronze with gold and silver detail. On the opposing side is an engraved tara leaf with an inscribed Buddhist mantra. The himotoshi is a bakemono where the cord hole is formed through vacant eyes. Signed Rosetsu in an oval cartouche.

Length: 20.6 cm


An antique Japanese bamboo kiseru-zutsu with openwork relief carving of the Gama Sennin who is seated cradling his frog companion in his left hand and holding a staff in his right. They rest beneath a gnarled pine, symbol of endurance. The open end of the pipe case is lined with sakura. Circa 1820.

Length: 20.2 cm



A boxwood kiseru-zutsu conceived in tribute to "Izumo no Okuni," the creator of the kabuki theater. She is depicted in carved relief (nikubori) wearing flowing robes while performing her innovative dance on a raised platform. The reverse is carved with a calligraphic inscription paying homage to her free spirit and detailed with two kutani vessels. "Kutaniyaki Izumo no Okuni no zu, Yuiga dokuson anshu." Signed Tessai with seal.

Length: 21.7 cm


A boxwood kiseru-zutsu by Kano Tessai (1844-1925) depicting 7 National Treasures, Gigaku masks, with archival testimony.

Length: 21.8 cm



An antique Japanese roiro (black) lacquer kiseru-zutsu with hand engraved silver repoussé of a poetic image of a horse tethered to a sakura (cherry blossom) tree. One presumes the dark surface with silver moonlight depicts a night scene where katakiribori technique of carving (uneven strokes of brush painting) has been utilized to simulate both trunk and branches of the tree. Circa 1860.

Length: 22.3 cm









#S1. A most eccentric sagemono in the tradition of scholars’ taste, signed Kyosai (to the upper left) and Shusai (to the lower right). A collaborative effort of two insightful artists of found materials rendered both wonderful and functional. Bamboo and stag antler with katakiribori (uneven engraving simulating brush strokes) decoration of gambling horses. Circa 1860.

Height: 9.2 cm


#S2. A Bokuto of Edamamé– a staple of Japanese life for centuries. This symbol of plentitude is here expressed with such a hardy pod of broad beans and young pod forming. Holding this bokuto is certainly an ample statement of tactile abundance. Boxwood and bone. Late 1800’s.

Length: 36.8 cm







#S3. A most unusual Rimpa school tonkotsu en-suite of 'Sakura' cherry wood encrusted with the bold inlay characteristic of the school. One side and top celebrates a spring festivity, known as 'Keitchitsu', a procession of insects traditionally celebrated on the 5th of March. The other side is with is a pewter crescent moon over meadow grasses. This inference is autumn, recalling the Basho poem of 'The Moon Over Saga Plain'. The grasses are executed in a pewter and gold lacquer of harmonious tone to the carefully chosen wood ground. The netsuke is a cherry blossom with coral center and an
array of fine gold lacquer stylized stamen. The ojimé is a matching antique coral. Signed Koshinsai on both tonkotsu and netsuke.

Height: 9.0 cm


#S4. Tonkotsu and kiseru-zutsu en-suite of scholars’ taste where nature’s expression is celebrated and only minimally augmented to serve in the capacity of functional art. Here the tonkotsu is formed by a hollowed section of timber bamboo, the curved surface resting comfortable in the hand. Its banded stripes of polished rhizomes are a graphic complement to the bold archaic characters carved in its surface. Capped by a fitted wood lid engraved with a hossu, the meditation whisk associated with Bodhi Dharma, the patriarch of Zen Buddhism. Together with a very organic otoshi-zutsu (literally: drop case) that is rendered from a rather unusual bamboo root formation. Signed Sōko Heidai. Ex: Atchley Collection. Illustrated: The Virginia Atchley Collection of Japanese Miniature Art, pg. 323, ills. S71. 

Tonkotsu: 8.0 cm, Kiseru-zutsu: 13.7 cm



#S5. A unique saké three piece sagemono set with an unusual long necked gourd whose surface rind has inspired its reference as the “outlandish cloud gourd”. Carried from the obi by a sashi style bamboo netsuke with details of black lacquer ants, unsigned but accompanied by a note of confirmation that attributes it to Tessai. The tripod hai is fashioned from coconut shell with relief carving of narcissus and plum blossoms, associated with early spring and symbols of rebirth and rejuvenation, an obvious reference to the long held belief in the powers of libation.

Tomobako reads Kiun byo – A rare / outlandish cloud gourd. Together with hand written document by Kyunyozan attesting to the rarity, beauty and tactile quality of the gourd and that the cup (hai) is made by Bazan and the koshi sashi is made by Tessai. 

Gourd length: 16.7 cm, sashi length: 21.1 cm, cup diameter: 6.1 cm 









A most unusual 18th century Namban embroidered, yuzen (resist dyed) tabako-ire with a scene depicted of the arrival of Portuguese traders. Fitted with a fine kanemono of Kannon standing next to a koro on a rock formation surrounded by celestial clouds. Together with a finely tooled silver enamel double gourd ojime, symbol of abundance. Originally from the Greenfield Collection with collection #22507-4, noted within the pouch. Also containing remnants of tinder for the lighting of a pipe. Early 1700’s.

Measuring 7.5 by 13.3 cm.


A handsome tabako-ire, the entire ground of which is a landscape formed from individually laid forbidden knots (French knots). The kanemono is of remarkable quality with three takazogan medallions illustrating various legendary heroes, such as Tenjin in exile contemplating a full moon. They are set within a ground of finely tooled nanako (fish roe) metalwork. The kanemono is then fastened to the signature placque engraved with a festival drum and signed Hiramoto. Together with an amber ojime. Circa 1870.

Measuring 7.5 by 13.0 cm.







A remarkable antique Japanese silver kiseru with an extraordinarily precise hand chiseled overall pattern inspired by the heraldic crest or 'Mon' of the Hanabishi (Flowery Diamond) form. There were numerous historic Japanese families who had adopted this Mon, the Ouchi clan figuring most prominently. The generous contours of this kiseru lend an air of substantiality and fit most appealingly in the hand.

Length: 22.5 cm


A large antique Japanese kiseru in a rich Sentoku, with boldly executed nikubori (lit. 'flesh carving' relief) peony. The symbol of regal power, the peony is often referred to as the 'King of Flowers' and looked upon as the flower of the Yang or masculine principle, evoking brightness and honor. These blossoms are emerging from scholars' rocks and on the upper section are graced by flitting butterflies, a symbol of joy and felicity.

Length: 24.3 cm