19th century walrus tusk netsuke of a kneeling man wearing kimono pressing down a catfish with a double gourd in his hands. Catfish (Namazu) is believed to cause earthquakes, and the netsuke illustrates a proverbial sentence “A gourd against a namazu” meaning useless effort similar to trying to catch a slippery fish with a gourd. Superb carving of his face, nice depiction of his hair and robe patterns, great staining, eyes of the fish are inlaid with dark horn. Wonderful patina with characteristic sheen. Signed MITSUSHIGE on the bottom - Lazarnick mentions an artist using these characters on page 271 of NETSUKE & INRO ARTISTS AND HOW TO READ THEIR SIGNATURES under SHIGE K314, but does not provide actual listing. Height 1 3/16 inches.