An unusual semi-sculptural manju netsuke, depicting two monks with fine expressions, one holding a hossu (buddhist ‘fly swatter’) and the other holding prayer beads and an alms bowl. They are seated inside an alms bowl with a ferocious, serpentine dragon amongst clouds carved in relief. Flaming zhu pearls are inlaid in red and black lacquer. Irregular himotoshi, one of them ringed, next to the signature inlaid in a red lacquer tablet SOKOKU.
DIAMETER 4 CM
Condition: Loss to one of the lacquer inlays – otherwise in very good condition
Provenance: Austrian private collection, the previous owner had acquired it at Sotheby’s Parke Bernet, Japanese and Other Works of Art, New York, 23 May 2979, lot 1161 (copy of old invoice available).
Literature: The artist is not to be confused with Egawa Sokoku (b. 1920), the same signature on an ivory netsuke of a kappa is illustrated in Netsuke & Inro Artists, and how to Read Their Signatures’, George Lazarnick, page 1029.