An Edo-school ivory netsuke depicting two Nio, their eyes inlaid with black horn, engaged in the sport of udezumo (arm wrestling), on top of a giant waraji (sandal). The netsuke is an emblem of endurance and strength. Finely carved details and very good staining. Signature TOMOTAKA 友高 in a wavy reserve on the underside above a central himotoshi. Tomochika school.
LENGTH 5.2 cm
Condition: Excellent condition, two very faint age cracks.
Provenance: The Gabor Wilhelm Collection.
Nio are athletic temple guardians, whose sculptures are seen by the entrance gates of Buddhist temples. It was thought that offering a sandal to their sculptures would heal the exhausted feet from the long pilgrimages to the temples.