Late Meiji period (1890s -1912) wooden okimono of a seated tanuki (badger) with its enormous belly, an inscribed sake bottle in one paw, an accounting book in the other. In Japanese folklore tanuki is a notorious trickster: it drums with his paws on its large belly (tanuki no hara tsuzumi), imitating the sounding of gongs in temples and inns, and leading tired travelers astray in the darkness. Judging by the book in its paw, this time tanuki acts as a sake vendor. Skillfully carved out of chosen matsu (Korean pine wood) in ittobori (one cut) style characteristic of Hida school of netsuke carvers with clever use of wood grain as element of design. Excellently conveyed facial expression, eyes are inlaid with black horn, beautiful patina. Height 2 5/16 inches.