Nagoya school, 19th century
Wood netsuke; the wasp's eyes inlaid in dark horn
Unsigned, attribuited to Kogetsu
Height: 4.4 cm
A fine netsuke o a wasp feeding on the rotting flesh of a pear, the rough texture of the skin of the fruit rendered with little pimples in ukibori.
Kongetsu is the most famous of the so called group of "wasp carvers" which include four other artist. This piece is very realistic, especially for its naturally carved himotoshi: On all the known examples of "wasp on pear" netsuke, himotoshi are in fact regular round holes, while in this piece they are carved as rotten parts of the fruit itself.
Ukibori is the technique of leaving a raised pattern behind by removing material around the pattern. In this example it is probably created by compressing wood fibers, sanding down the surface and then wetting the wood so the compressed pimples expand, leaving you with a raised surface.
Netsuke for sale. Price on application. Please include item stock number: net-1155