by Toyokazu, 19th century
Wooden netsuke, eye inlaid in translucent horn
Diameter: 4 cm
Of Manju form, the ho-o shown with open beak as it flies, its openwork tail to one side and three large kiri leafs on the reverse. The ho-o is a mythological bird of East Asia that reigns over all other birds; It has very positive connotations: it is a symbol of high virtue and grace and represents the imperial house.
Toyokazu was a carver of Tanba province, who was active from the mid- to late 19th century. He is thought to have been a pupil of Naito Toyomasa (1773-1856), who was largely responsible for the fame of netsuke in Tanba province.