This is a finely carved boxwood netsuke depicting a Gashadokuro or "Starving Skeleton'.
According to Japanese Legend, Gashadokuros are Giant skeletons These are giants Skeletons that are said to be created from amassed bones from people who died from starvation. They roam after midnight, grabbing lone travelers and biting off their heads to drink their spraying blood. The Gashadokuro are said to possess the powers of invisibility and indestructibility.
The Gashadokuro in this depiction is resting his right elbow on his right knee, and using his right hand to touch his ear, while he grabs a string that holds a gourd with his left hand. Very nice detail and wonderful symmetry all throughout, rich patina. The two holes in the lumbar area of his spine serves as natural himotoshi. Unsigned.
Netsuke measures One Inch (2.5cm) wide, 1.88 inches (4.8cm) tall. It is in excellent preserved condition, as may be seen in the posted photos.