19th century wooden netsuke of sitting Tanuki (badger) beating on his extended belly as on a drum. In Japanese folklore tanuki is a notorious trickster: he drums with his paws on his large belly (tanuki no hara tsuzumi), imitating the sounding of gongs in temples and inns, and leading tired travelers astray in the darkness. Wonderful expression on the face of the creature, great realistic treatment of the subject. Superbly carved with great sense of volume, extraordinary face with well captured insidious expression, excellent depiction of its fur, pupils are inlaid with black horn. Beautiful wear, fantastic patina consistent with age. Signed MINKO on the bottom - for a discussion of this superb carver see p. 757 of NETSUKE & INRO ARTISTS AND HOW TO READ THEIR SIGNATURES by George Lazarnick. Wonderful work by the master carver, classic netsuke. Height 1 5/16 inches.