19th Century, finely Hand-Carved Netsuke depicting a Kappa,
or Water Kami or deity, sitting while holding a catfish on her left
hand. She is busy touching the depression on her head that holds
In Japanese mythology, the kappa is a flesh-eating water imp who lives in river, lakes
and ponds. They smell like fish, and they are normally depicted with the body of a turtle,
an ape-like head, scaly limbs, long hair circling the skull, webbed feet and hands, and
yellow-green skin. Sometimes they are shown with a turtle shell attached to their
backs. The kappa in this rendition has more of a humanoid form.
This fine miniature sculpture is signed Shozan in Shojo script in an
oval reserve, on the back near the himotoshi.
It measures 1.17 inches (3.0cm) wide, and 1.58 inches (4.0cm) tall. It
is in excellent condition, as may be seen in the posted photos.
Note: Information about Shozan and his signature may be found
on page 983 of Lazarnick's: Netsuke and Inro Artists and how to
read their signatures.