The messenger of the Dragon King of the Sea, holding up a tide ruling jewel. Very rare tagayasan (cassia wood) carved base in the shape of a three-clawed dragon, surrounded by waves that carry the tide ruling jewel, a virtually clear rock crystal ball. Tagayasan base carved and composed in yosegi saiku technique, which is commonly applied in Buddhist sculpture. The base covered in nashiji lacquer. Japan, Edo period, around 1800. Unsigned.
Total height: Circa 8.5 inches . Diameter of ball: 4 inches (10 cm).
Few burned spots, several breaks and losses in the base, due to the nature of the wood. The crystal is virtually clear with very few inclusions (two kinds) and with a few blemishes to surface.
Tagayasan is extremely difficult to carve, as the structure of the wood makes it very brittle, even though tagayasan is considered a hardwood. But the play of the dark and light lines make it extremely beautiful. Tagayasan is usually used for smaller carvings as netsuke, very rarely for larger sculptures.