Early 19th century, finely hand-carved Japanese boxwood netsuke of a muscular Toad that has placed itself on top of a decaying Well Bucket. Excellent form and detail on this classical representation of the subject. Nails on bucket sides are inlaid in black horn. Chimney himotoshi that starts on the bottom of the bucket, and continues through its middle handle. The very rich patina that this carving has acquired through the ages has given it a dark color tone. Signed Masanao on the bottom of the bucket. Based on the way that the characters of the signature are written, it is most likely that the carver of this piece was Shinpuken Masanao.
It measures 0.98 inches (2.5cm) wide, and 1.08 inches (2.7cm) long, and 1.30 inches (3.3cm) tall. It is in outstanding preserved condition, as may be seen in the posted photos.
Note: A reference to Shinpuken Masanao and his signature may be found on page 723-4 of Lazarnick's 'Netsuke and Inro Artists, and How to Read their Signatures'