A powerful and dynamically crafted ivory netsuke of a tigress placing one paw protectively on her cub. The mother’s body is muscular with pronounced shoulder bones, and her entire body is contorted into a circle, her thick tail swinging around over her back, as she lets out a powerful, yet comedically docile snarl. The cub below her is almost entirely nestled underneath her body, his chin resting on his paws, tail swinging around to its side and with a sensitive, slightly mischievous expression enhanced by finely inlaid eyes of pale horn with black pupils, just like his mother. The ivory is deeply stained, and the stripes are polished to emulate the tiger’s natural fur coat. Natural himotoshi and signed on the mother’s behind HAKURYU 白龍 inside a polished reserve.
HEIGHT 3 cm, LENGTH 4.7 cm
Condition: Very good condition with expected age cracks and minor flaws to the ivory.
Provenance: French private collection.
Hakuryu’s tigers are completely unique in their individuality, style and expression and matched only perhaps by the tigers by Matsushita Otoman. The existence of many imitations and copies of Hakuryu’s tiger(s) perhaps give this distinct type a bad reputation, however this netsuke is of superior quality and without a doubt by Hakuryu II, a pupil of the first Hakuryu who is said to have originated from the Rantei school.
Auction comparison: A similar netsuke with two tigers was sold by Zacke, Fine Netsuke, Sagemono & Okimono, 27 April 2019, Vienna, lot 86. Another netsuke with three tigers was sold at Zacke, Fine Netsuke, Sagemono & Okimono, 2 November 2019, Vienna, lot 105.