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Ɏ KAIGYOKUSAI MASATSUGU: A GILT LEATHER TABAKO-IRE WITH INLAID IVORY ‘PAIR OF RABBITS’ KANAMONO

By Kaigyokusai Masatsugu (1813-1892), signed Kaigyoku 懐玉
Japan, Osaka, c. 1880, Meiji period (1868-1912)

The tobacco pouch (tabako-ire) crafted from foreign leather and neatly carved in relief with gilt palm leaves and exotic plants on a black ground in the manner of European leather design, the finely polished kanamono (pouch fitting) carved from a choice piece of ivory in the form of a pair of rabbits with inlaid amber eyes, the interior of the pouch lined in silk and depicting a crane as well as floral and foliate motifs, the reverse of the kanomono with the signature KAIGYOKU.

LENGTH 13.3 cm, HEIGHT 9.5 cm (the tabako-ire), LENGTH 4.3 cm (the kanamono)

Condition: Good condition, the leather worn as expected, the kanamono with light scratches and a small chip to the reverse. The rabbits themselves are in superb condition.
Provenance: UK private collection.

Auction comparison:
Compare an ivory netsuke of a hare with amber eyes by the same carver at Van Ham, Asiatische Kunst, 14 June 2018, Cologne, lot 2209 (sold for 38,700 EUR).

Literature comparison:
A suede pouch with an inlaid ivory kanamono in the form of a monkey with peaches, by Kaigyokusai with the assistance of his pupil Tetsugen, is illustrated in Lazarnick, George (1981) Netsuke & Inro Artists, and How to Read Their Signatures, vol. 1, p. 561. An ivory netsuke of a pair of rabbits with amber-inlaid eyes by the same carver, once in the collection of Raymond Bushell, is in the collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, accession number M.91.250.217.

Starting price
€3,000
Estimate
€6,000
 

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By Kaigyokusai Masatsugu (1813-1892), signed Kaigyoku 懐玉
Japan, Osaka, c. 1880, Meiji period (1868-1912)

The tobacco pouch (tabako-ire) crafted from foreign leather and neatly carved in relief with gilt palm leaves and exotic plants on a black ground in the manner of European leather design, the finely polished kanamono (pouch fitting) carved from a choice piece of ivory in the form of a pair of rabbits with inlaid amber eyes, the interior of the pouch lined in silk and depicting a crane as well as floral and foliate motifs, the reverse of the kanomono with the signature KAIGYOKU.

LENGTH 13.3 cm, HEIGHT 9.5 cm (the tabako-ire), LENGTH 4.3 cm (the kanamono)

Condition: Good condition, the leather worn as expected, the kanamono with light scratches and a small chip to the reverse. The rabbits themselves are in superb condition.
Provenance: UK private collection.

Auction comparison:
Compare an ivory netsuke of a hare with amber eyes by the same carver at Van Ham, Asiatische Kunst, 14 June 2018, Cologne, lot 2209 (sold for 38,700 EUR).

Literature comparison:
A suede pouch with an inlaid ivory kanamono in the form of a monkey with peaches, by Kaigyokusai with the assistance of his pupil Tetsugen, is illustrated in Lazarnick, George (1981) Netsuke & Inro Artists, and How to Read Their Signatures, vol. 1, p. 561. An ivory netsuke of a pair of rabbits with amber-inlaid eyes by the same carver, once in the collection of Raymond Bushell, is in the collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, accession number M.91.250.217.

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You may view objects in this auction in our gallery from 6 April to 16 April, 2021. We are open Monday to Friday from 10 AM to 6 PM CET, as well as by appointment.

 

Auction: Fine Netsuke & Sagemono, Fri, 16th Apr 2021


ANYONE ELSE FEEL LIKE A BEACH HOLIDAY IN EDO JAPAN?

Perhaps one would encounter a similar scene as on our cover image. We hope that ‘diving’ into our catalog may evoke a similar feeling. After all, you will encounter all kinds of creatures, odd beings, and legendary figures in here, offering a small glimpse into a world which has inspired Japanese art throughout the centuries. It is truly wonderous how one can travel back in time by holding a netsuke in the hand, and while many of you will not be able to handle them until after the sale, we hope that our descriptions and photography may compensate for the time being. Now without further ado, please do DIVE IN!

 

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