By Hogen Tadayoshi, signed Bifu Ju Tadashige 忠義
Japan, Nagoya, first half of 19th century, Edo period (1615-1868)
Finely carved as a voracious wolf looming over a haunch of venison, its left front paw firmly placed on it – one can almost see the mouth watering in anticipation of the meal. The hairwork is finely engraved, working with the natural grain of the wood, and the posture is powerful, with pronounced shoulder bones and a ridged spine. The movement of the body is quite dynamic, while remaining compact and forming an ideally shaped netsuke. The eyes are inlaid in dark horn and the bone of the haunch is inlaid in pale yellow horn. Natural himotoshi and signed underneath the haunch inside a rectangular reserve in worn ukibori characters Bifu Ju TADASHIGE (Tadashige, living in Bifu).
LENGTH 4.2 cm
Condition: Very good condition, some surface wear, the signature is worn and barely legible.
Provenance: European collection.
Tadayoshi earned the title Hogen during his lifetime. According to N. Davey: "He was the most celebrated of the Nagoya carvers. His work, starting in the style of Tadatoshi, became infinitely more subtle and sophisticated, bring to the netsuke a character that was at one and the same time graceful, artistic and naturalistic, while not in any way leaving aside its use as a toggle" – all the named characteristics can be seen in the present netsuke.
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