Fri, 29th Oct 2021 13:00

Fine Netsuke & Sagemono

 
Lot 129
 

129

SHOKO SUGONOYA: A SUPERB WOOD NETSUKE OF A WOLF AND SKELETON

By Shoko Sugonoya, signed Shoko 尚古
Japan, Hida-Takayama, mid-19th century

Exquisitely carved as a wolf and skeleton embroiled in a vicious fight, the skeleton with one of its hands at the wolf’s neck, the other on its forehead, while the wolf clutches the skeleton’s arm and jaw with its paws. The skeleton with superbly carved and openworked ribs, the skull neatly stippled and incised with simulated cracks. The wolf with finely incised fur, neatly articulated spine and ribs, and double-inlaid eyes in pale and dark horn. Natural himotoshi. Signed to one of the wolf’s haunches SHOKO.

LENGTH 5 cm

Condition: Excellent condition with minor wear.
Provenance: Ex-collection Teddy Hahn, Darmstadt.

The skeleton-and-wolf netsuke is an allusion to the tragic story of unrequited love between the military leader Fukakusa Shosho and the celebrated poetess Ono no Komachi. The former died trying to convince the latter of his love for her. She was left to endure a solitary old age. Her pride is personified by the skeleton whilst the passion of Fukakusa is represented by the wolf.

Interestingly, the present netsuke is unclear as to who is dominating in this conflict, as turning the netsuke will produce a different winner, alluding to the concept of Yin and Yang. While this subject is not uncommon, this is the finest execution this author has seen to date.

Literature comparison:
Compare a closely related netsuke by Shoko in the collection of the Los Angeles County Museum, accession number AC1998.249.281; and another is illustrated in Meinertzhagen, Frederick / Lazarnick, George (1986) MCI, Part B, p. 748.

Sold for €8,848

including Buyer's Premium


 

By Shoko Sugonoya, signed Shoko 尚古
Japan, Hida-Takayama, mid-19th century

Exquisitely carved as a wolf and skeleton embroiled in a vicious fight, the skeleton with one of its hands at the wolf’s neck, the other on its forehead, while the wolf clutches the skeleton’s arm and jaw with its paws. The skeleton with superbly carved and openworked ribs, the skull neatly stippled and incised with simulated cracks. The wolf with finely incised fur, neatly articulated spine and ribs, and double-inlaid eyes in pale and dark horn. Natural himotoshi. Signed to one of the wolf’s haunches SHOKO.

LENGTH 5 cm

Condition: Excellent condition with minor wear.
Provenance: Ex-collection Teddy Hahn, Darmstadt.

The skeleton-and-wolf netsuke is an allusion to the tragic story of unrequited love between the military leader Fukakusa Shosho and the celebrated poetess Ono no Komachi. The former died trying to convince the latter of his love for her. She was left to endure a solitary old age. Her pride is personified by the skeleton whilst the passion of Fukakusa is represented by the wolf.

Interestingly, the present netsuke is unclear as to who is dominating in this conflict, as turning the netsuke will produce a different winner, alluding to the concept of Yin and Yang. While this subject is not uncommon, this is the finest execution this author has seen to date.

Literature comparison:
Compare a closely related netsuke by Shoko in the collection of the Los Angeles County Museum, accession number AC1998.249.281; and another is illustrated in Meinertzhagen, Frederick / Lazarnick, George (1986) MCI, Part B, p. 748.

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