Saishiki netsuke of Ryujin

Style of Yoshimura Shuzan, 18th century

Signed: Shuzan
Height: 9,8 cm

W. L. Behrens collection, no. 311
H. L. Joly, W. L. Behrens Collection. Part I Netsuke and Japanese Carvings, London: Glendening, 1912, plate XLII
G. Lazarnick, The Meinertzhagen Card Index, New York: Alan R. Liss Inc., 1986, p.802

The Dragon King, or one of his emissaries, is shown with a fierce expression, holding a dragon in his right hand and a Tama, the sacred tide jewel, in his left. This example is in the style of Yoshimura Shūzan of Osaka, a Kanō school painter of the mid-eighteenth century, who, according to the Sõken Kishō, Inaba's 1781 publication, was considered one of the finest carvers of his day. He is the innovator in netsuke of legendary and mythological figures done in this technique: his carvings, which he created using hinoki (cypress) wood, were coated in a kind of gesso and painted in polychromy. Because of his popularity among the public, subsequent generations of artists tried to imitate his style, which led to Nagamachi Shuzan, who signed his name "Shuzan" in honor of the style's creator, producing a sizable number of vibrantly colored netsuke in the late 19th century.

The Meinertzhagen Card Index lists this netsuke as by Nagamachi Shuzan, but it seems that the style of this later netsukeshi differs greatly from this one, favoring theatrical and everyday topics and producing netsuke that are half the size of this one. We can then assume that there was a different maker who signed as "Shuzan" or that the signature here was added later.


Price: 8,000 €

Inventory Nr: 3034

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