Lot 55: Japanese Edo / Meiji Wood Netsuke - Monkey Riding Lion
27 October 2016
Louisville, CO, USALive Auction
Far East, Japan, Edo to Meiji periods, ca. 1700 to late 19th century CE. A charming, small boxwood item - a monkey seated atop a lion-like creature (possibly one of the many mythological chimaeras in the Japanese pantheon), with a geometrically-shaped base with a hole through it. This particular netsuke may be a seal netsuke, an ingyo in Japanese, although the seal is not in the form of characters but rather a feather/arrow design. The entire effect of the netsuke is a beautifully ornate figure that has clearly been used. Netsuke have a quality, aji in Japanese, that means they have a smooth surface that is pleasing to touch; patina, through extensive handling and age, enhances aji. This example certainly has that! Size: 0.85" W x 1.75" H (2.2 cm x 4.4 cm)
The netsuke is an example of the art of everyday objects. They are small sculptures designed to be worn so that objects could be suspended from the traditional sash (obi) that wraps around the kimono. They were used to carry purses, smoking accoutrement, and inro, "seal baskets", which held seals and medicines. The netsuke, made with two holes through it, was used as a toggle to stop the cord on which those items were suspended.
Provenance: Ex-private Santa Fe, New Mexico collection
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Condition Report: Slight age wear from use