Unsigned, 19th century
Diameter: 1 3/8 in. (3.6 cm.)
The metal plaque from a kagamibuta partially gilt with gold and silver and details in red lacquer, depicting the Sennin Shiyei seated on his giant carp.
The subject of this netsuke is the legend of Sennin Shiyei. Once upon a time, the old sage captured a red carp. He thought that the fish was so beautiful that he put it in a pond where he could admire it everyday. He took such good care of the carp that it quickly grew up to ten feet, and grew horns and wings as well. One day, Shiyei bowed in adoration in front of the carp which in return told him that it would take him to the sky. The Sennin climbed on the back on the giant carp holding on to the horns, and both leaped towards the land of the Immortals.
Provenance: Raymond and Frances Bushell