19th century netsuke of a seated skeleton cleaning a mokugyo (Buddhist gong) with a stiff brush. I believe it represents the late Buddhist priest Danka: excellent Buddhist subject, great facial expression (if you can call it a face) with a wide smile, the piece being comical and somehow sad. Himotoshi (cord opening) is formed by a natural opening between the rib cage and hip bones. Beautiful patina turning honey color on the back where the netsuke was touching the silk of kimono, in excellent condition. Signed TADACHIKA in irregular shaped reserve on the bottom - for discussion of this Tomochika school artist see p. 1058 of NETSUKE & INRO ARTISTS AND HOW TO READ THEIR SIGNATURES by George Lazarnick. Appears to be a unique subject: usual examples are shown with a striker, not with a brush. Height 1 5/16 inches.