Japan, late 18th century, Edo period (1615-1868)
Boldly carved as a snake consuming a helpless frog, one of its limbs caught in the serpent’s mouth, the snake’s body coiled in three layers, intricately carved with extensive openwork forming natural himotoshi, the nicely worn wood of an attractive color, with a warm, smooth patina.
LENGTH 4.4 cm
Condition: Very good condition, appealingly worn.
The netsuke depicts the sansukumi motif, meaning ‘mutual control’. The snake will consume the frog, however there is a catch – the frog has already eaten a poisonous snail, so too the snake must perish.
Compare to a closely related wood netsuke of a snake with frog in Barry Davies Oriental Art, Netsuke from the Teddy Hahn Collection, London, 1996, pp. 80-81, no. 110.
Compare to a closely related wood netsuke of a snake with frog at Zacke, Fine Netsuke, Sagemono & Okimono, 2 November 2019, Vienna, lot 115 (sold for 4,550 EUR).
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