An ivory netsuke of a kitsune (fox) disguised as a fully clothed and hooded priest holding a long bamboo cane with its human hands in front of its body. Its long foxlike head is lowered and turned to the left. The face is carved with very good detail and the mouth is slightly opened, baring teeth. The flowing priestly robe is finely stippled. Large asymmetrical himotoshi to the reverse. Excellent patina.
HEIGHT 8.1 cm
Condition: One tiny chip to the right ear. Expected age cracks. Good, complete condition.
Provenance: German private collection.
Hakusozu is the name of a popular kitsune character who shapeshifted into a priest to in the Kyogen play Tsurigitsune. Kitsune (foxes) are creatures imbued with magical powers and are known to have the ability of shapeshifting. They are also believed to be animated by the devils.
Auction comparison: For a figure of comparable quality see Bonhams, The Harriet Szechenyi Sale of Japanese Art, 8 November 2011, London, lot 73. Also see Zacke, Fine Netsuke, Sagemono & Okimono, 2 November 2019, Vienna, lot 239.