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Three wood No masks

19TH CENTURY, ONE INSCRIBED TENKA-ICHI DEME JOMAN

Details
Three wood No masks
19th Century, one inscribed Tenka-ichi Deme Joman
Carved as the character Ebisu, a monkey and an old man; the round-faced smiling Ebisu with a small goatee and big ears, the monkey with a surprised expression and detachable bottom jaw, the old man with many thickly carved wrinkles, long hairy eyebrows, moustache and beard, all painted in pink, red, black and white (some loss to the paint, some hair missing, monkey's jaw loose)
each circa 22 cm. high (3)

Lot Essay

The inscription "Deme Joman, the first man in the world" is probably used as a tribute to the Deme family, celebrated for their carving of theatre masks in Edo from the 10th Century onwards. Deme Joman, or Takamitsu, lived in the early 18th century and he was the first to make these masks in the form of netsuke.
Cf. Neil K. Davey, Netsuke, 1974, p.92-94

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