Published: Sydney L. Moss Ltd. (2006) More Things in Heaven and Earth, pp. 94f., no. 40.
A compact and dynamically crafted ivory netsuke depicting a tigress licking her cub. The composition adheres the perfect knot-like netsuke shape, however, is full of movement – bodies twisting, tails swinging. The mother pins down her cub with one heavy clawed paw, while the cub twists around, wriggling and visibly delighted, his mouth opened and his eyes ecstatically squinting. Both tigers’ eyes are inlaid in pale horn with inked recessed pupils, slightly too far apart, resulting in the idiosyncratic comedic expression that all good Hakuryu tigers share. The fur coats are masterfully executed with finely incised hairwork and polished stripes. Centuries of handling have giving the worn areas a warm yellowish patina in all the right places, while still maintaining the appearance of the tiger’s fur, which the carver is famous for. The underside shows the finely carved clawed paws and the full signature inside a reserve UNSHO HAKURYU 雲松白龍. Natural himotoshi.
HEIGHT 3 cm, LENGTH 4.1 cm
Condition: Excellent condition, expected wear, beautiful patina. One nerve channel visible on the shoulder of the tigress.
Provenance: London, 23rd June 1976, lot 31, ex Franco Gennaro, Milano.
We have been blessed to be able to offer four exceptional Hakuryu tigers in the space of little less than a year, each one seemingly better than the other. The present example is by Unsho Hakuryu I and visibly exhibits more freedom and individuality than his successors and is arguably the best example we have offered by this lineage.