By Hasegawa Ikko, signed Ikko 一光
Japan, early to mid-19th century, Edo period (1615-1868)
Of quadrilobed, manju-style, low table form, finely carved depicting a recumbent Kikujido wearing a mugwort leaf skirt, holding a brush, next to three reishi sprouts, all beneath a cloudy sky with a full moon. The moon and brush are inlaid with mother-of-pearl while the reishi and leaf skirt are inlaid with green stained antler and translucent horn respectively; the eyes are minute inlays of dark buffalo horn. Chrysanthemum leaves decorate the sides, which are carved in openwork, the underside pierced with a single floral himotoshi. Signed to the back IKKO on a mother-of-pearl inlaid tablet.
LENGTH 4.1 cm
Condition: Very good condition with minor wear and remnants of gold and red lacquer. Some wear to the cord hole.
Provenance: From a noted private collection in Geneva, Switzerland, assembled since the 1960s, and thence by descent. An important part of this collection was on permanent loan and was exhibited over several decades at the Asia-Africa Museum in Geneva.
Kikujido (the chrysanthemum boy) appears in Makurajido and remained youthful even with the passing of 700 years after writing the lines of the Lotus Sutra, graciously gifted to him by the Emperor, on the leaves of a chrysanthemum, when the dew drops from the chrysanthemum became an elixir for immortality.
Compare a related manju netsuke in the form of a nyoi sceptre, signed Ikko and with similar use of inlays, illustrated in Meinertzhagen, Frederick / Lazarnick, George (1986) MCI, Part A, p. 224.
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