An ivory netsuke with a shshi signed Okatomo


Katabori netsuke


ARTIST Yamaguchi Okatomo
DATE Late 18th century
MEDIUM Ivory; eyes inlaid in dark horn
LENGHT 4.7 cm
SIGNATURE Okatomo  in a rectangular reserve



  • W. W. Winkworth collection
  • Von Schluben collection
  • J. and A. Katchen collection


  • George Lazarnick (ed.), MCI: The Meinertzhagen Card Index on Netsuke in the Archives of the British
  • Museum, New York (Alan R. Liss Inc.: 1986), p. 620.
  • A. Katchen, Netsuke 7, vol.1, Paris (K. R. Publishers, 2010), p.85, no.K430.


The shishi turned slightly to the right, open-mouthed and with one forepaw resting on a pierced ball with a loose ball within, one hind leg forming the himotoshi.

Okatomo, who is mentioned in the Sōken kishō (published 1781) was one of the outstanding animal carvers of Kyoto in the late eighteen century. He is believed to have studied under Tomotada, adopting the “tomo” character from his master’s name. Okatomo mainly created animals in ivory, demonstrating a comprehensive understanding of the anatomy of his subjects. The mane and tail are richly carved in luxuriant relief, with convoluted tresses which have been darkened by intentional staining.

A very similar shishi by Okatomo is in the Huthart (ex G. Cohen) collection.


INVENTORY NR: net-1235

Netsuke for sale. Price on application.



Inventory Nr: 1253

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