Japan, Osaka, 18th century, Edo period (1615-1868)
Carved from hinoki (cypress wood) and painted in polychrome pigments, boldy carved in the form of a robust Hotei standing on one foot and dressed in the robes of a kumosuke. The spry Hotei balancing a teapot on his head while standing on one foot holding his robes up with both hands. Wearing a large grin, his robe opening at the chest exposing his rotund belly. Two functional himotoshi to the back.
HEIGHT 7.9 cm
Condition: Good condition with expected wear to the pigments and a few light scratches.
The kumosuke were men from a rough background who carried daimyo inside a palanquin along the Tokaido road, which connected Edo (Tokyo) and Kyoto during the Tokugawa era. They had to be strong, but also needed to know how to sing to entertain the feudal lords. This depiction of Hotei dressed as a kumosuke express a comical aspect of Japanese religious and political satire.
Compare a related wood saishiki netsuke of a Dragon sennin similarly posed on one foot, illustrated in Arakawa, Hirokazu (1983) The Go Collection of Netsuke. Tokyo National Museum, p. 16, no. 11.
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