Nio are athletic temple guardians, whose sculptures are seen by the entrance gates of Buddhist temples. In the present netsuke his torso is naked and very muscular, the accentuated face is grim and defensive, and he has a heavenly garland around his shoulders. The nio is sitting on a large sandal (waraji), as it was thought that offering a sandal to their sculptures would heal the exhausted feet from the long pilgrimages to the temples. The sandal is carved with great precision and shows the signature TOMOMASA on the underside. Tomomasa was a student of Tomochika in Tokyo. There are possibilities for natural himotoshi, though the carving is more of an okimono.
HEIGHT 3.8, LENGTH 4.9 CM
Condition: Very good condition with an excellent patina
Provenance: British private collection