An ivory netsuke of the three wise monkeys, also known as sanbiki saru, shown here as a large monkey with two of its young. The larger monkey is holding the mouth of the young monkey on his shoulder and the eyes of the other child to his right. In return, the monkey on its shoulder is holding his ears, thus completing the representation of the three wise monkeys, which embody the proverbial principle of ‘speak no evil’, ‘hear no evil’ and ‘see no evil’. A charming and unusual netsuke with a beautiful honey-patina and good, large himotoshi to the reverse and side.
HEIGHT 5.9 cm
Condition: Good condition, expected age cracks.
Provenance: British private collection with two valuations from Sotheby’s, by Neil K. Davey, dated 1974 & 1984, inventory no. 85.