Carved as a boy with a drum tied to his obi in front him, holding a pair of drumsticks and wearing a festive cloak incised with three different geometrical patterns. He is lifting his Shishimai mask, revealing his face. The boy has very finely crafted facial features with full cheeks, a sensitively crafted nose and a charming smile. The Shishi mask at the top is equally well-carved with expressive features and finely carved curls. The icing on the cake is the patina – honey orange in the back and coherently worn in just the right places, indicating a well-used and loved piece. The generous himotoshi, as well, are perfect.
HEIGHT 7.6 cm
Condition: Expected age cracks, beautiful patina. One foot is restored very well.
Provenance: The Gabor Wilhelm Collection.
The Shishimai festival was imported from China during the Tang dynasty and is celebrated during the New Year to bring good luck and ward off evil spirits. The subject is commonly treated in netsuke art; however, this quality is very rare.