The octopus (tako) shown with a pronounced head and bundled tentacles, starkly contrasting to the finely ribbed surface of the concave mortar (suribachi). The underside of the mortar is smooth, with a fine honey-patina and intentionally carved cracks, showing the age of the mortar which has been lying on the seabed offering a home to the octopus. Irregular oval and circular himotoshi.
DIAMETER 4 cm
Condition: Very good condition, the pupils of the octopus are ossibly lost.
Provenance: The Gabor Wilhelm Collection.
The tako is also called the physician of the sea and the suribachi was used to grind herbs and medicine – therefore this netsuke serves as a charm of good health.
Auction comparison: Compare to an almost identical netsuke sold at Van Ham, Asiatische Kunst, 8 December 2016, Cologne, lot 2453.