• Japanese Art & Design auction at Christies

    Sale 5968

    Japanese Art & Design

    4 November 2009, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 54

    A Fine Wood Netsuke


    Price Realised  


    A Fine Wood Netsuke
    Signed Hokyudo Itsumin, Edo Period (19th century)
    Two sumo wrestlers attempting the Kawazu throw, eyes inlaid in cowhorn
    6.5cm. high

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    A similar netsuke by Masatoshi of Tokyo depicting sumo wresters in a very similar pose is in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (11.23729). Joe Earle notes that the pose refers to a classic bout between Kawazu and Matano that took place in 1176. Matano was about to lift Kawazu by his loincloth and throw him, but Kawazu outwitted him with a combined neck grip and leg trip, a move still known as kawazugake.1

    1. Joe Earle, Netsuke: Fantasy and Reality in Japanese Miniature Sculpture, (Boston, 2001), p.200, fig.163

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