Late 18th to early 19th century netsuke of a recumbent cow with a boy climbing on top of it while holding a rat by its tail. The netsuke is a reference to a Zodiac pairing of animals with an unusual addition of a human. Finely carved, its hooves bent beneath its body, wearing a halter with a length of rope lying across its back, eyes of the cow inlaid with black horn, rat’s eyes are brown horn. Beautiful wear consistent with age, yellowing on the bottom where netsuke was touching the silk of kimono and picked up oil from the body of the owner. Variously sized deep himotoshi in accordance with the habit of the time, wonderful rendition of animal’s fur. Signed TOMOTADA in rectangular reserve on the bottom, and appears to the work of the master himself or a student under master’s supervision. Excellent sculpture. Length 2 1/2 inches.