Japan, possibly Iwami, 18th-19th century, Edo period (1615-1868)
The snake (hebi) elaborately coiling around itself, its sinuous body forming an elaborate bundle of twisting loops, the entire surface covered in ‘punctured’ scales, its head resting at the top in a lurking manner. One large himotoshi through the body underneath. The glaring eyes are double inlays of pale, translucent horn with dark pupils.
LENGTH 4.4 cm
Condition: Excellent condition.
Ebony wood netsuke of snakes are to be considered rare and are mostly attributed to the Iwami school of carvers. The manner of the inlaid eyes of the present snake are reminiscent of this school as well. For a related ebony netsuke of a coiled snake, attributed to Seiyodo Bunshojo, see Bonhams, The Robert S. Huthart Collection of Iwami Netsuke Part I, 15 May 2019, London, lot 52 (sold for 6,312 GBP).
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