A lightly stained, finely carved and expressive wood netsuke depicting the legend of the Bumbuku Chagama (badger tea kettle). According to Japanese folklore a poor man sets a tanuki free, which in return transforms into a kettle, so that the man can perform with it on the street and become wealthy. This netsuke is quite unusual, as instead of being shown happy or surprised (as usually depicted), the man is quite possessive of the tanuki, fiercely grabbing on to it. The man is a thief, who is trying to steal the magic kettle and enrich himself. The front is inscribed ‘Toyo Fuku’ (great fortune), which the man is trying to acquire. Angular himotoshi in the back. Signature on the reverse on the left leg of the thief in a wavy reserve HIDEHISA (Shukyu) 秀久.
HEIGHT 4.4 cm
Condition: Good condition. Some plugged sections in the wood. Very attractive patina.
Provenance: The Gabor Wilhelm Collection.