Published: Östasiatiska Museet (1999) Netsuke, p. 63.
Exhibited: Östasiatiska Museet, Sweden, Stockholm, 16 October 1999 – 9 January 2000.
Kensu (in Chinese Xianzi), also known as the Ebi (prawn) Sennin or shrimp eater, was a Zen monk famous for breaking the Vinaya code on eating meat, and thus paradoxically gaining enlightenment. He was rumored to wander riverbanks and fish only for lobster and clams. The tall ivory netsuke shows him holding a lobster with his right hand over his shoulder with an ecstatic expression, signifying his enlightenment. He wears only a straw skirt, shoes and shin guards, his body slightly emaciated, the rib cage and spine in the back expressed. The backside shows a fine honey patina and the asymmetrical himotoshi.
HEIGHT 12 cm
Condition: Very good, complete condition. The ivory slightly worn with one age crack through the back of the left arm.
Provenance: Ex collection Mrs. Gunvor Bjorkman.