For our September Fine Netsuke & Sagemono auction, Lukas Zacke, Head of Japanese Art, Netsuke & Sagemono, kept asking himself the same question.
One defining characteristic of lot 90 – the crouching cat by Kaigyokusai Masatsugu – is that the highly expressive face and smile is only visible when turning the netsuke in the hand and when looking at it slightly from below. However, when placed on a reflective surface, one can see both the body and face of the cat – surely this must have been intended by the artist, as it simply looks too perfect to be a coincidence. "Now the challenge was to portray this, exactly as we saw it, to our collectors around the world," says Zacke.
Zacke teamed up with Production Director Marion Schor and Photographer Georg Bodenstein to build a miniature landscape for the cat, complete with stone, plants and crystal-clear water.
"We believe we have caught some of the essence of what the artist wanted to portray when he conceived this artwork," adds Zacke.
Don't worry, our feline friend stayed dry throughout his photo shoot!
We received an outpouring of positive feedback following the launch of our September catalog, but perhaps none was as thrilling as this note from a Japanese collector, who painted a watercolor of our fat cat: