This is a collaborative work by two masters working when Japanese art was in transition. The bronze casting is by Izumi Seijo, who exhibited animal bronzes at the 1900 Paris Exposition. Kaneda Kenjiro (1847-?) is known for his ivory carving; several works by him were exhibited at the St. Louis exposition in 1904, and other examples of his work are illustrated in The Studio (October 1910). In 1878, Kaneda cofounded the Kankokai (Industrial promotion association) with several prominent ivory carvers, including Ishikawa Komei (1852-1913), who is best known for his netsuke, and Asahi Gyokuzan (1843-1923). Ivory carving in Japan reached its peak of artistry in the late nineteenth century. Kaneda's group studied foreign demand in order to formulate a response to the lagging netsuke market. The following year the group changed its name to Chokokukai (Society of sculptors), and by 1886 the society was sponsoring annual sculpture competitions. Kaneda, Komei and Gyokuzan went on to form the influential Tokyo Chokokukai (Tokyo society of sculptors).
For another example of Kaneda's work, see Joe Earle, Splendors of Imperial Japan: Arts of the Meiji Period from the Khalili Collection (London: The Khalili Family Trust, 2002), p. 381, fig. 274.
For his 1893 ivory figure of hawk, shown in the Chicago exposition and now in the Tokyo National Museum, see Tokyo National Museum et al., Seiki no saiten: Bankoku hakurankai no bijutsu Arts of East and West from World Expositions (Tokyo: NHK, NHK Promotion Co., Ltd.; Nihon Keizai Shinbun, Inc., 2004), pl. I-269.
The figure has been in a private American collection since the late 1940s.