By Yamaguchi Okakoto, signed Okakoto 岡言
Japan, Kyoto, late 18th century, Edo period (1615-1868)
Published & Exhibited: Association Franco-Japonaise, Netsuke Sagemono, Paris, 2019, p. 66, no. 110.
A dramatic representation of a Tartar archer dynamically swinging his bow back, his loose sleeve swinging upwards as a result, and readying two arrows as he eyes an enemy in the distance. His detailed robe is beautifully carved and engraved with various sumi-stained patterns, the buttons of his coat are inlaid in dark horn, as are the eyes and finial of his quadrilobed hat. The archer has a grim expression with a wild windswept beard, reminiscent of the demon queller Shoki. The superbly carved backside, which is unusually thick and appealingly rounded, shows the kirin-form quiver with neatly incised scales and head, and the beautifully excavated, asymmetrical himotoshi next to the signature within a rectangular reserve OKAKOTO. The ivory bearing a deep-yellow patina, particularly to the back.
HEIGHT 8.2 cm
Condition: Very good condition, few natural age cracks and typical wear.
Provenance: Jan Lühl Antiques, Paris, April 1991. Ex-collection Guy de Lasteyrie, acquired from the above. De Lasteyrie is a member of the Lasteyrie du Saillant family and is considered among the leading French collectors of netsuke.
Yamaguchi Okakoto was a pupil and younger brother of Yamaguchi Okatomo. His work is considerably rarer than those of other members of the Oka school. While this is a known subject by Okakoto (Fuld's Netsuke and Ojime Index lists five examples) this appears to be the largest and finest model of this group, possessing remarkable sculptural quality and boldness in the execution.
Compare a closely related, yet smaller (6.8 cm), ivory netsuke of a Tartar archer by Okakoto at Christie’s, Japanese Art & Design, 12 May 2010, London, lot 1 (sold for GBP 10,625).
Trade Certificate: The trade certificate for the sale of this lot within the EU has been granted (permit number FR2207506631-K).
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