The cockerel, carved in distinct Kyoto style, with red inlaid horn eyes and slightly turned head, has an enigmatic expression. The piece is in movement with the crest of the animal being slightly bent and the feathers swaying in the wind. There is great attention to details of its plumage, particularly the tail feathers, which are gracefully carved. The ivory has a good patina and the himotoshi on the reverse are large, hollowed out and irregular. The signature is found next to the himotoshi in a neat raised square reserve, minutely incised, MASANAO.
Bernard Hurtig, who had purchased the netsuke at Sotheby’s Parke Bernet, wrote in an auction report from The International Netsuke Collectors Society Journal, March 1978, page 8 about the piece: “Lot 177 was a very unusual netsuke. It was a well carved stylized cockerel netsuke signed Masanao. Although it was patinated and showed signs of age, the piece did not resemble any of Masanao’s works, I have seen previously. But the carving was excellent, and the netsuke did have certain appeal. Great care has been taken to hollow out the area between the fowl’s back and the tail feathers, which were carved in a graceful curve”.
HEIGHT 4.5 CM
Condition: Very good condition
Provenance: Collection of Sam Felton with CITES permit no. 18US59513C/9. Acquired from Bernard Hurtig on February 17th, 1978.