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LOT 122 - NE1123

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Lot details

By Yoshitoshi, signed Yoshitoshi 慶寿
Japan, late 18th to early 19th century, Edo period (1615-1868)

Published: Sagemonoya (2022) A Selection of Netsuke & Sagemono from the Collection of Georgina & Gabor Wilhelm, p. 12, no. 9.

A powerfully sculpted and large netsuke of remarkable thickness depicting the God of War Kan’u (Guan Yu) standing proudly and stroking his long and elegantly flowing beard. The legendary general wears a cloud-patterned robe below a cuirass with beast-masked shoulder plates. Note the superbly carved facial features and fingers which curl around his beard and are placed against his hip. Two large himotoshi to the back and signed towards the hem of the robe YOSHITOSHI.

HEIGHT 8.8 cm

Condition: Good condition with minor wear and traces of use. Some light chipping with associated repairs to the edge of the robe in the back.
Provenance: The Gabor Wilhelm Collection, Paris.

Guan Yu (died 220) was a Chinese military general serving under the warlord Liu Bei during the late Eastern Han dynasty of China. Guan Yu's life was lionised and his achievements glorified to such an extent after his death that he was deified during the Sui dynasty. He is reported to have had a ‘peerless beard’. In the present netsuke he is depicted in a portraitist manner with particular attention devoted to the long beard, which is central to the composition, the eyes of the viewer being immediately drawn to the curved, elegant fingers caressing this legendary figure’s facial hair.

Literature comparison:
Only two works are recorded by this exceptionally rare artist in Fuld's Netsuke and Ojime Index. One depicting Gama Sennin is illustrated in Meinertzhagen, Frederick / Lazarnick, George (1986) MCI, Part B, p. 992, and the other depicts a man tying his fundoshi illustrated in Barry Davies Oriental Art, The Netsuke Collection of W.G Bosshard Part 1, no. 92.


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