Attributed to Ryukosai Jugyoku, unsigned
Japan, Edo (Tokyo), mid to late 19th century
Superbly carved as a young boy performing the kitsune odori (fox dance) wearing tightly fitted cloths with a cowl over his head, wearing a fox’s mask and tail. The dancer stands on one leg (the netsuke actually is perfectly balanced and stands on that leg), the other leg lifted dynamically, and the two hands are raised in a dancing posture. Two himotoshi to the back. Unsigned, however attributed to Ryukosai Jugyoku who treated this subject and used the same type of reddish wood.
HEIGHT 4.1 cm
In some areas of Japan, the kitsune odori was performed during O-bon (a traditional festival honoring the dead), the boys wearing white close-fitting costumes including a fox’s mask and tail. The small size of this netsuke may indicate it was made for a young boy, the subject matter here making it a suitable gift.
Condition: Excellent condition.
Provenance: Ex-collection Irene Segeler, Zurich. Irene Segeler specialized in collecting tiny children’s netsuke, acquiring over 80 examples, which is quite remarkable as they are exceptionally rare. A few pieces from her collection are illustrated in Children’s Netsuke (2001), The International Netsuke Society Journal (INSJ), vol. 21, no. 2, pp. 26-30.
Compare to a closely related wood netsuke of a fox dancer, by Jugyoku, illustrated in Coullery, Marie-Therese and Newstead, Martin S. (1977) The Baur Collection, pp. 247-247, no. C 699.
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