Although the name Masayoshi or Shokichi is recorded by Davey among others, no convincing hypothesis has been advanced regarding the origin of this superb carving. Were it not for the use of ebony rather than boxwood, the Nagoya-Gifu area of central Honshu might suggest itself on the basis of the very fine hairwork and delicate modelling. The shape is closer to a miniature okimono than a functional netsuke, perhaps implying a date towards the end of the Edo period.
1 Neil K. Davey, Netsuke: A Comprehensive Study Based on the M.T. Hindson Collection (London: Faber & Faber, 1974), no. 1502 (p. 493).