antique netsuke

A wood netsuke of a tanukiby Kokei, early 19th centuryRacoon dogWooden netsukeSigned: KokeiHeight: 3.5 cmThis netsuke represents the Tanuki (raccoon-dog) while he is beating his distended belly like a drum. The Tanuki is part of Japanese mythology and often appear in Japanese folklore as a shape-shifter with supernatural powers and mischievous tendencies. Can transform into any living or inanimate shape, but often assumes the form of a monk or a tea kettle to play tricks on people. In legends, the Tanuki can cast powerful illusions: they can turn leaves into fake money or horse...

tomotada netsuke
Wooden netsuke a wild dogby Tomotada, 18th centuryWood netsuke; eyes inlaid in dark horn and ivory Signed in a rectangular reserve: TomodataLength: 5 cm A wild dog crouching over a hamaguri clam which lies at its feet, its mouth open, revealing sharp fangs, the tail curled between its legs. The backbone and ribs well visible under its coat, the hair indicated by delicate engravings and stained striations..During the 18th century, Japanese forests were teeming with wild dogs known as yamainu (dogs of the mountains) or okami (great deity). This animal was...

A wood netsuke of an islander19th centuryWooden netsukeHeight 6.5 cmThis netsuke shows a Pacific Islander with a spyglass or telescope. At the time of the opening of Japan to Western trade and religion, there was genuine concern that the inhabitants of the islands would be terrified by the strange attire and looks of the sailors and Sea Captains. To avoid this, a print of a sailing ship and her crew was circulated. At this time, the first Westerners allowed into Japan were the Dutch, who used Pacific Islanders as crew members. The print showed one such Islander with a spyglass...

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