A masterful, compact and powerful representation of a seated and snarling male tiger with his chubby, finely carved paws pushed firmly against the ground and his thick tail curling up around his side. The fur coat is inked and has been worn through generations of handling, especially to the back, which is smooth to the touch and shows a fine yellowish patina. The defining attribute of this netsuke, however, is the facial expression, which is amusingly ambiguous - as if the tiger forgot how to roar. The pupils are inlaid in reddish horn. Signed underneath in a rectangular reserve OKAKOTO 岡言.
HEIGHT 3.4 cm
Condition: Good condition with expected age cracks and wear to fur coat.
Provenance: English private estate.
Yamaguchi Okakoto, pupil of Yamaguchi Okatomo, was a brilliant carver and excelled at carvings of animals. His work is considerably more rare than those of other members of the Oka- school.
Auction comparison: For a reclining tiger by Okakoto see Bonhams, The Harriet Szechenyi Sale of Japanese Art, 8 November 2011, London, lot 128.