The very large himotoshi hole suggests that this carving is a Kyoto piece by a follower of Okakoto, who appears to have specialised (in addition to his other carvings, see Lot 39) in simple narrative netsuke. The design, from a picture book by Tachibana Morikuni first published in 1720 and reprinted in 1770, represents an episode from the thirteenth-century chronicle Heike monogatari. In 1153, an extraordinary beast was seen on the roof of the Imperial Palace and its malign influence was believed to have brought on the fatal illness of the Emperor Konoe. One night the archer Yorimasa succeeded in shooting the monster without killing it, and, on closer inspection, it turned out to have the head of a monkey, a tiger's paws, a badger's body, a snake for a tail. The creature was finally despatched by Yorimasa's retainer I no Hayata.1
1 Joe Earle, Netsuke: Fantasy and Reality in Japanese Miniature Sculpture (Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 2001), cat. nos. 141-2.