The Taoist philosopher and immortal Roshi (in Chinese Laozi, meaning literally ‘old master’) lived in the 6th century and is regarded as the founder of Taoism. In this netsuke he is shown riding a water buffalo, as according to legend he left China for the west in this way. During his journey, on the mountain pass Xiangu, he crossed paths with the border guard who encouraged him to write the famous Daodeijing. The water buffalo has his legs very closely together, with a hunchback and is looking downwards, indicating the narrow mountain pass. Roshi is seated at the very top, wearing a Taoist cap, gently smiling and looking up into the heavenly skies. ‘Chimney himotoshi’ through the underside and backside.
HEIGHT 7 CM
Condition: A section of the rope is lost between the two hands of Roshi, some age cracks - otherwise good condition
Provenance: British private collection with two valuations from Sotheby’s, by Neil K. Davey, dated 1974 & 1984, inventory no. 102, ex Fletcher collection