A superbly detailed and finely polished ivory netsuke depicting a monkey quarreling with an octopus which is seated on a bell-shaped vessel. The octopus is wearing a shirt and is holding a mallet up high menacingly, while the monkey is gripping its tentacles. The netsuke references a legend in which the octopus-physician to Ryujin, the Dragon King of the Sea, prescribes a monkey’s liver to heal the King’s daughter. The octopus was sent to overpower a monkey and this netsuke shows exactly this scene. Natural himotoshi and the signature IKKOSAI 一光齋 in a polished reserve. The carving shows deep influences from the Osaka master Kaigyokusai Masatsugu, who opened a school in Tokyo which probably had a shared sphere of influence with Ikkosai.
HEIGHT 4.3 cm
Provenance: British private collection.
Condition: The ivory slightly worn in some areas, some age cracks, generally in good condition.