Japan, 19th century, Edo period (1615-1868)
Well carved as a Kyogen mask of a monkey with deeply carved eyes with pierced pupils, the mouth slightly agape, the ears, nostrils, and teeth detailed with incision work, the reverse with a central himotoshi bar.
HEIGHT 4.3 cm
Condition: Very good condition with minor wear and few minuscule nicks.
Provenance: Ex-collection Dr. Walter Heihs. Sotheby’s, 19 November 1998, London. European collection P. Jacquesson, acquired from the above.
There are many variations in saru masks: young, old, male, and female, just like in a monkey family. The mask of a child monkey is used for ‘Utsubo-zaru’, where a child actor often makes his stage debut. ‘Saru-muko’ also uses a saru mask and tells the story of a monkey who adopts a son-in law into his family.
Compare a related wood Kyogen mask of a monkey, dated ca. 1700, in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, accession number 25.215.100.
Compare a related wood netsuke at Bonhams, The Julius and Arlette Katchen Collection of Fine Netsuke Part I, 8 November 2016, London, lot 105 (sold for 2,000 GBP).
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