Until 1st Aug, 2023

Buy it now


LOT 261 - NE0423

Buy now for €9,750.00

Lot details

By Matsuki Hokei, signed Hokei 宝桂
Japan, Tokyo, late 19th century, Meiji period (1868-1912)

Hurtig, Bernard (1973) Masterpieces of Netsuke Art: One Thousand Favorites of Leading Collectors, p. 212, no. 899.
Davey, Neil K. (1974) Netsuke: A comprehensive study based on the M.T. Hindson Collection, p. 162, no. 485.

Exquisitely and comically modeled with the face creased into a grimace as he stares upward with round eyes and recessed pupils, framed by long flowing hair with neatly incised strands, the mustache similarly incised, the various layers of lacquer clearly delineated and the reverse lacquered black save for the red-lacquered edges and himotoshi bar signed HOKEI.

HEIGHT 5.2 cm

Condition: Very good condition with minor wear to lacquer.
Provenance: Ex-collection E. Evelyn Barron. Ex-collection Mark T. Hindson. Sotheby’s, The M. T. Hindson Collection of Important Japanese Works of Art, Part VIII (Final), London, 20 October 1969, lot 253. Ex-collection Edward A. Wrangham, acquired from the above. Bonhams, The Edward Wrangham Collection of Japanese Art Part II, 10 May 2011, London, lot 98 (sold for GBP 4,800). Ex-collection Robert Fleischel, acquired from the above. European collection P. Jacquesson, acquired from the above.

Shojo is used exclusively for the play Shojo (The Dancing Orangutan). Despite the name, the mask is that of a smiling youth, certainly not an ape at all. The distinguishing feature of Shojo is his overall reddish color, the color which symbolizes the drunkard. This crucial feature to the mask obviously lends itself well to the medium of carved red lacquer. The present mask netsuke, however, presents Shojo in a rather unique way, with a distinctive grimace instead of the usual smile.

Matsuki Hokei was perhaps the most famous and certainly one of the finest workers in tsuishu (carved red lacquer). His figures in this material are comparable to the finest wood and ivory Netsuke, the various layers of lacquer used to denote highlights in some cases. The work is always well-finished. He taught several pupils whose work was similar but lacking the finesse of the master. See Davey, Neil K. (1974) Netsuke: A comprehensive study based on the M.T. Hindson Collection, p. 161.

Literature comparison:
Compare a related tsuishu mask netsuke of a grimacing male mask, 4.8 cm high, dated 19th century, illustrated in Eskenazi (1998) Japanese netsuke, ojime and inro from a private European collection, p. 63, no. 66.

Auction comparison:
Compare to a related tsuishu mask netsuke of a tengu, by Somin, at Zacke, Fine Netsuke & Sagemono, 16 April 2021, Vienna, lot 283 (sold for 9,150 EUR).


How to Buy Online

You must log in or create an online account in order to buy items from the shop.

Click the red 'Buy it Now' button to buy this item. You will then be able to download your invoice and receive instructions about how to pay. Prices include Buyer's Premium. 

If you would like to buy multiple items at the same time, add the items you want to your cart. You will then be able to check out with multiple items simultaneously.

Items in your cart are not reserved. Please complete the purchase process promptly to secure the items.

How to Buy Offline

If you would like to buy one of these items outside of the online shop, please contact us at office@zacke.at or +43 (1) 532 04 52.

Our Terms and Conditions

As part of our ongoing efforts to keep our auctions fair and transparent, we encourage you to read our terms and conditions thoroughly. We urge you to read through §34-50) to ensure you understand them. These terms are specifically designed to protect all serious and committed buyers from bidding against non-payers who attempt to inflate prices without the intent of paying their auction bills.

For further reading about non-payers at auction, go here: https://www.zacke.at/aboutnonpayers/.

The main points include the following:

  • Bidders must complete their due diligence and clarify all questions about the objects before the auction. After the auction, Zacke will not answer questions from bidders unless the purchase price has been paid in full. Of course, this does not apply to questions concerning shipping, insurance, customs, etc.
  • A sale cancellation of any kind after the fall of the hammer is not possible. The only exception to this fundamental rule is our guarantee of authenticity [the Guarantee].
  • A Guarantee Claim, however, can only be raised after the purchase price has been paid in full by the buyer and within 45 days after the auction day.

If you have any questions about our policies, please get in touch with us at office@zacke.at.

By placing a bid, you agree to our Terms of Auction and Terms and Conditions.