Late Meiji (1890s to 1912) netsuke depicting one of the Rokkasen (Six Famous Poets of Japan) Ariwara no Narihira with Empress Takako embracing him as she leans her head on his shoulder. Ariwara no Narihira lived in the 9th century, was a grandson of emperor Heizei Tenno and had many passionate affairs, but the one with Empress Takako resulted in him being exiled and becoming a monk. Wonderful faces, perfectly captured emotional state of the scene, superbly done polychrome decoration of their robe patterns, wonderful wear and patina. Signed TADAHIRO in oval reserve on the back - a very similar netsuke by the artist was in Raymond Bushell collection - see Christies London sale of 27 October 1987, lot 66. Height 1 5/8 inches.