Late 18th to early 19th century netsuke of a recumbent cow with with a boy climbing on top of it while holding a rat. The netsuke is definitely a reference to a Zodiac pairing with an unusual addition of a human. Finely carved, its hooves bent beneath its body, wearing a halter with a length of rope lying across its back, eyes of the cow inlaid with black horn, rat’s eyes are brown horn. Beautiful wear consistent with age, yellowing on the bottom where netsuke was touching the silk of kimono and picked up oil from the body of the owner. Variously sized and very deep himotoshi in accordance with the habit of the time, wonderful rendition of animal’s fur. Signed TOMOTADA in rectangular reserve on the bottom. Excellent sculpture. Length 2 1/2 inches.