The ivory of a very good color, beautifully worn and with a fine, smooth, and lustrous patina. Depicted is a bucket seller (also known as Okeya 桶屋), walking and carrying a large bag over his shoulder, a smoking set consisting of a kiseruzutsu and a tobacco pouch is attached to his obi on one side, and a bag with the character oke 桶 (meaning bucket) on the other side. His facial expression is crafted extremely well, full of character, and the eyes are inlaid in dark-reddish buffalo horn. Very good, generously excavated himotoshi through one side, the larger one of oval shape. Signed within a rectangular reserve YOSHINAGA.
HEIGHT 6.1 cm
Condition: Good condition with age-related wear and a beautiful patina. Old smoothed-down chip to the feet. Age cracks.
Provenance: Old Viennese private collection, collection no. 43, purchased from Lempertz, auction 673, 1991, lot 771. Additional collection no. 216.
Literature & Auction comparison:
There are only two other similar recorded netsuke by Yoshinaga, described as depicting farmers – one is illustrated in Lazarnick, George (1982) Netsuke & Inro Artists, and How to Read Their Signatures, Vol. 2, p. 1241. Another was sold by Sotheby’s, formerly in the Brockhaus collection, 13 March 1987, London, lot 11. Though there are some similarities, the present netsuke is significantly better.