Early 19th century ivory netsuke of an ama - abalone diver girl - wearing a straw skirt and resting on an enormous clam with her elbow on yet another clam. The netsuke is definitely of shunga type - see the very suggestive part of the clam just under her left arm. Superbly carved, fantastic face, beautiful texture to her hair and skirt. Wonderful patina consistent with age, great feel of age, all that a good netsuke should be. Length 1 3/8 inches.
19th century Asakusa school staghorn netsuke in manju shape with openwork carving of samurai mon (feudal lords crests) - 4 on one side and 2 on the other among leaves and stylized clouds. The one representing a triangle inside a triangle is that of the Hojo family: I have not been able to identify the others. Superb design and excellent quality sharp carving, beautiful warm patina, darker porous areas as is usual with staghorn. Clever and charming piece. Diameter 1 1/2 inches.
19th century ivory netsuke of a kneeling laborer grinding tea leaves in a mortar with a flattened disc grinder. Excellent carving - see the portrait quality face with a crooked smile and the muscles of his body. Beautiful even material, wonderful patina. Signed MITSUTOSHI (alternative reading is Koju) on the bottom - the artist is listed in NETSUKE by Neil Davey (p. 498, number 1547). Height 1 1/16 inches.
19th century metal and wood netsuke of a temple bell of Miidera. For the legend of Benkei carrying the bell of Miidera see H. Joly LEGEND IN JAPANESE ART, p. 82. Very nice sharp metalwork, wonderful dragon head on the top of the bell, beautiful patina. Height 1 5/8 inches.
19th century ivory netsuke of an accountant clearly enjoying his work with abacus and numerous piled ledgers, a brush in his mouth and eyeglasses low on his nose. Beautifully caught happy moment in bookkeeper’s exciting life, several ledgers are inscribed on the bottom, the fattest one reading DAI FUKU CHO (Great Fortune Account). Wonderful detailed carving, very slight expert staining, great patina.
Signed MEIKOSAI on the bottom for Meikosai Hoichi - the artist is listed on p. 476 of NETSUKE & ...click for details
19th century boxwood netsuke of Benkei standing on a hat of his last opponent making a challenging gesture with his left hand while holding a club in his right. Wonderful arrogant face, excellent rendition of his attitude, beautiful patina, wonderful sheen to the surface. Signed MASAKAZU on the bottom - the artist appears to be Sawaki Kihodo Masakazu, brother of Masatoshi - see NETSUKE & INRO ARTISTS AND HOW TO READ THEIR SIGNATURES by George Lazarnick, p. 708, number 5 on Meinertzhagen card ...click for details
19th century wooden netsuke of a blind masseur working on a client. Wonderful carving with superb smiling faces, well depicted muscles of the client. Some wear and old smooth chipping to the edges, rich warm patina. Signed BAIGETSU on the bottom. Height 1 7/16 inches.
19th century boxwood netsuke of a kneeling maid with a chubby face, her hair arranged neatly, her tongue is sticking out, her hands in front of her inside the sleeves of the kimono. Eyes are inlaid with ivory with painted pupils giving her an unusually lifelike appearance. Unusual subject, very well captured posture, beautiful work on her hair, comb in her hair is ivory, and her tongue is ebony. Exceedingly beautiful wear and patina. Signed MINKO on the bottom - for a discussion of this superb c ...click for details
19th century boxwood netsuke of goma-suri (sesame grinder). The cook is seated with a long pestle in his hands and suribachi (grooved mortar) firmly held by his bare feet starting the long process of grinding sesame seeds. Unusual subject, wonderful depiction of his face and muscular limbs, excellent wear and patina. Signed MINKOKU in reserve on the bottom - for information on this rare carver see NETSUKE & INRO ARTISTS AND HOW TO READ THEIR SIGNATURES by George Lazarnick, p. 767. Great nets ...click for details
Early 19th century ivory netsuke of Jittoku and Kanzan showing off an open scroll with calligraphy. According to a legend, Kanzan and Jittoku lived in a kitchen of a Chinese Zen Buddhist monastery and talked nonsensical language, which some took as a sign of them being enlightened. Excellent faces, great depiction of robe lines and patterns. Well incised characters on the scroll - maybe it is possible to actually read what the inscription says. Beautiful wear and wonderful patina turning yellow, ...click for details