DESCRIPTION: This outstanding and rare antique Japanese Tonkotsu, or tobacco box, has been crafted from boxwood in the form of the Three Wise Monkeys, with a beautifully carved Iwazaru, or “Speak no Evil” monkey, serving as the main tobacco container. Mizaru, or “See No Evil”, forms the ojime and Kikazaru, or “Hear No Evil”, forms the netsuke to complete the set. Each of these has been meticulously carved with inlaid eyes and finely delineated fur. The large monkey wears a decorative jacket and holds the artist’s signature on his rump. These tobacco boxes were worn by men in a similar fashion as an inro, suspended from a belt or sash. This example is one of the finest mingei (folk art) pieces we have seen. Mid 19th C., in very good condition with no restorations; small age fissure on large monkey’s shoulder. DIMENSIONS: Large Monkey is 3 ½” high (9 cm).