Signed Hogen Shuzan 法眼周山
Japan, 18th century, Edo period (1615-1868)
The tall figure boldly carved as a standing Shoki, with menacingly grim expression, grabbing a flailing oni by its hair, his iconic ken-sword drawn behind his back. The reddish wood bearing an attractive, dark patina and the eye-pupils of both inlaid in black wood. Good, functional himotoshi to the back and signed Hogen SHUZAN.
HEIGHT 9.8 cm
Condition: Good condition with some typical wear and few old chips and nicks here and there.
The work can be attributed to Yoshimura Shuzan (1700-1776) or a close follower. Yoshimura Shuzan was a painter who also carved netsuke, being mentioned in the Soken Kisho (the first publication on netsuke) in 1781. He came from Shimanouchi, Osaka, and studied with the Kano-school painter Niekawa Mitsunobu and received the honorary rank 'hogen'. While the design and remarkably bold execution are certainly in line with this artist’s work, his netsuke were usually carved from cypress wood and painted with polychrome pigments. It is also said that he never signed his works. For the reasons above, a firm attribution is impossible.
Compare a related saishiki (painted hinoki wood) netsuke, attributed to Yoshimura Shuzan and of similar design, illustrated in the International Netsuke Collectors Society Journal (INCSJ), vol.3, no. 1, p. 26, no. 33.
Compare a related Shuzan-style wood netsuke, unsigned and without polychrome pigments, of similar size and boldness, depicting a Chinese general, at Bonhams Cornette de Saint Cyr, Myth, Mirth and Magic – Important Netsuke and Sagemono from the Guy de Lasteyrie Collection, 14 June 2023, Paris, lot 24 (sold for EUR 20,480). The design for this netsuke is also illustrated in Meinertzhagen, Frederick / Lazarnick, George (1986) MCI, Part B, p. 800.
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