A large Kyoto-school ivory netsuke depicting a squirrel with a finely carved bushy tail, scratching its ear. The rodent is seated on a leafy bushel of grapes and has large eyes inlaid in dark horn. The underside shows a stunning honey patina and very good asymmetrical himotoshi.
LENGTH 7.1 cm
Condition: Very good condition. Expected age cracks and wear. Stunning patina.
Provenance: British collection.
The squirrel is relatively rare in Japanese art and is usually depicted in combination with grapes. The ‘Squirrels and Grapes’ motif is an important Chinese theme, first appearing in the 16th century. It signifies good fortune and fertility.