Until 1st Aug, 2023

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LOT 163 - NE0423

Buy now for €9,100.00

Lot details

Japan, Edo (Tokyo), 18th century, Edo period (1615-1868)

Finely carved as a man seated with crossed legs, wearing the mask and hairstyle of Okame, the hair neatly incised and tied at the back, the man otherwise clad only in a fundoshi, from which his enormous phallus emerges which he cradles with both hands, the man’s expression hidden behind the mask though obvious nonetheless. The back with two generously excavated, asymmetrical himotoshi above the inscription Otoko (‘man’).


Condition: Few minor age cracks, one with associated old repair, one foot with the toes restored. Otherwise, fine condition with a superb, deep patina.
Provenance: Sotheby’s, Fine Netsuke Including Property from the Collection of Alan R. Liss, 2 September 1993, Chicago, lot 128. Ex-collection Joe Kurstin, acquired from the above. Dr. M. Joseph ‘Joe’ Kurstin (1931-2021) was a prominent Miami ophthalmologist who arguably built one of the greatest netsuke collections of all time. He was known by netsuke and inro lovers worldwide and made many lifelong friends in this tight-knit community. He published several books and articles on the subject and generously lent his collection for exhibitions at the Yale University Gallery, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Epcot Center at Disney World, and The Tobacco and Salt Museum, Tokyo.

Literature comparison:
Compare a related wood shunga netsuke of Okame, signed Deme saku, 6 cm high, dated 18th century, illustrated in Scholten Japanese Art (2001) Expressions of Style: Netsuke as Art, p. 47, no. 58.


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