18th Century, Japanese finely hand-carved boxwood Netsuke depicting one of the scenes from the Ten Oxen parables; The Return on Ox-back. The character on this parable is shown playing a flute while sitting on the back of an Ox.
Chimney himotoshi that starts on the bottom of the irregular platform where the water Ox stands, and continues through any of the spaces made by the legs of the animal. Rich patina, lustrous surface. Unsigned.
Netsuke measures 1.54 inches (3.9cm) wide, and 1.51 inches (3.8cm) tall. It is in excellent condition, as you may be able to see in the posted photos.
A similar netsuke, that belong to the collection of Michael and Rebecca Hauter, is illustrated on page 88 of Hurtig's "Masterpieces of Netsuke Art"