A powerful and well-worn ivory netsuke depicting a tigress with her paw placed protectively on her cub. The thick tail curls up by her side and the fur coat is expressed naturalistically. The surface has developed a fine patina with honey spots. The tiger has typically large, thick eyebrows and the pupils are inlaid in dark horn. The cub which nestles up to her underneath, looks to the right with an amusingly whimsical expression, the pupils too are inlaid. Appropriately large himotoshi through one thigh and underneath the belly. Signed underneath within a rectangular reserve TOMOTADA 友忠.
HEIGHT 3.9 cm, LENGTH 4.8 cm
Condition: Worn condition with age cracks. The right paw of the cub possibly chipped. Very good patina.
Provenance: European collection.
Auction comparison: An ivory netsuke of comparable quality was offered by Bonhams, Fine Japanese Art, 11 May 2010, London, lot 212.