18th century netsuke of a mother rat with 2 young on a woven straw mat. Great compact shape, humorous attitude of one of the young covering its face with its paws. Superbly carved, excellent depiction of fur, tail and straw mat textures, great faces, eyes of the mother are inlaid with turtle shell, those of young are black horn. Beautiful wear consistent with age, old stable age lines, yellowing on the bottom where netsuke was touching the silk of kimono and picked up oil from the body of the owner. Very deep himotoshi in accordance with the habit of the time. Signed TOMOTADA in rectangular reserve on the bottom - the work is definitely by the master himself. Superb sculpture, old paper collection label on the bottom. Length 2 inches.