18th century netsuke of a recumbent water buffalo and a calf who is licking the face of its mother, their hooves bent beneath their bodies, the mother wearing a halter with a length of rope lying across her back. Excellent early piece capturing the tenderness of the moment, great facial expressions and wonderful fur texture, eyes of the mother are inlaid with dark horn. Great sense of volume, the bottom of the netsuke is not flat, but convex as a good Tomotada school netsuke should be. Superb 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 himotoshi in accordance with the habit of the time, netsuke of characteristic 18th century triangular section, old age lines. Signed OKATOMO in rectangular reserve on the bottom - for information on this excellent artist see NETSUKE & INRO ARTISTS AND HOW TO READ THEIR SIGNATURES by George Lazarnick, p. 850. Superb classic netsuke. Length 2 3/8 inches.