Japan, late 17th to 18th century, Edo period (1615-1868)
Moss, Paul (1990) The London Netsuke Fair and Convention Handbook, p. 61.
Wright, Douglas J.K. (Spring 2001), Auctions, International Netsuke Society Journal, vol. 21, no. 1, p. 50.
The London Netsuke Fair and Convention, 1990.
Boldly carved, somewhat reminiscent of a Hyottoko mask, the face contorted to one side with deeply carved wrinkles below the mouth and around the prominent frontal bone, one eye round and the other crescent-shaped, the small mouth with two buck teeth. Some red pigments are used for dramatic effect. The reverse with a large, vertically pierced himotoshi bar.
HEIGHT 6.3 cm
Condition: Very good condition with minor wear, few tiny nicks, occasional light scratches.
Provenance: Ex-collection G.H. Hodgson, sold at Glendining’s, 1917, London. Ex-collection Michael and Hiroko Dean. Sotheby’s, 14 November 2000, London, lot 103 (sold for GBP 3,800). European collection P. Jacquesson, acquired from the above.
This mask netsuke was presented at the London Netsuke Fair and Convention in 1990, where it was shown at Joseph Kurstin’s lecture Early Netsuke. The handbook (edited by Paul Moss) dates the mask “probably late 17th century”.
Douglas J.K. Wright wrote on the present lot in his International Netsuke Society Journal article on the Sotheby’s auction where it was previously sold: “I loved this piece. There were signs of a signature much worn away. Paul Moss felt I was seeing strokes before my eyes, but I am adamant that one could make some of the scratches translatable and reading Tenkaichi. Also, I felt from the style it was by Deme Uman […].”
While P. Jacquesson has built one of the most important collections of mask netsuke recorded with many fantastic examples, this is arguably the masterpiece of the collection.
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