by Tomotada, 18th century
Wood netsuke; eyes inlaid in dark horn and ivory
Signed in a rectangular reserve: Tomodata
Length: 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 feared predator but also an appreciated protector against animals that used to destroy the harvest. The yamainu were for a long time mistakenly identified as wolves, animals that did not actually exist in Japan.
There are many netsuke representing this animal, always depicted with a hungry expression eating a piece of meat, a crab or a turtle. The representations with an hamaguri are extremely rare; a similar netsuke, by the same artist, is mentioned in Meinerzhagen in MCI (pag.917).
Netsuke for sale. Price on application. Please include item stock number: net-925