Browse Lots

Global notice COVID-19 Important notice
An Ivory Netsuke
Prospective purchasers are advised that several co… Read more
An Ivory Netsuke


An Ivory Netsuke
Signed Masanao, Edo Period (Mid-Late 18th Century)
A superb model of a reclining horse with its right legs tucked under its body in the usual Kyoto manner, its head and neck turned to the left to lick its extended left hind leg, the eyes inlaid in dark brown cowhorn, Kyoto School
5cm. wide
Special Notice

Prospective purchasers are advised that several countries prohibit the importation of property containing materials from endangered species, including but not limited to coral, ivory and tortoiseshell. Accordingly, prospective purchasers should familiarize themselves with relevant customs regulations prior to bidding if they intend to import this lot into another country.

Condition Report

If you wish to view the condition report of this lot, please sign in to your account.

Sign in
View condition report

Lot Essay

We know virtually nothing about Masanao, rightly regarded today as among the finest of all netsuke carvers, beyond the facts that he lived in Kyoto, worked in both ivory and wood and was highly rated by Inaba Tsuryu in Soken kisho (1781).1 This small model combines all his virtues of well-considered sculptural form, finely (but never too finely) carved detail, wonderfully finished himotoshi, signature and other essential details, and perfect exploitation of the ivory medium and the shape of the tusk.

1. Inaba Tsuryu Shin'emon. Soken kisho [Strange and wonderful sword-fittings], vol.7, Furoku netsuke-shi meifu narabi ni zu [Supplement with illustrations and a list of netsuke artists] (Osaka, 1781), p.11.

Related Articles

View all
Let it snow auction at Christies

Let it snow

Leonardo’s Head of a Bear (and auction at Christies
‘They belong in any serious Bu auction at Christies

More from Japanese Art & Design

View All
View All