19th century netsuke representing a street entertainer, in this case a contortionist with his hands wrapped around the legs. Uncommon subject, excellent carving to the last detail, perfectly balanced - can both sit and stand. Wonderful face with cheeks drawn in as he holds his breath, old age lines, great warm patina. Signed TOMOAKI in irregular reserve on the bottom - the artist is listed on p. 1148 of NETSUKE & INRO ARTISTS AND HOW TO READ THEIR SIGNATURES by George Lazarnick. Comes from the collection of His Royal Highness Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester - a tag is attached. Height 1 3/8 inches.