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Neil Holton Japanese Art


Chokaro Sennin. Attributed to Miura Yoshinaga. First half of the 19th Century. 8cm High.

A wood study of a Sennin. The old hermit is standing slightly slouched. His right arm grips the rope of a gourd which he swings above his head forcefully, his left hand poised to catch the contents of the gourd. Judging by the ill tempered expression, I suspect this is not his first attempt. All will recognise the figure as Chokaro Sennin, the artist assisting our determination of the subject by placing a movable horse within the gourd which has the ability to protrude but not come loose. The wood has a rich chocolate brown colour contrasting with darkened areas in the recesses, somewhat similar to a Tanba complexion.

The artist is also instantly recognisable. Milton Stratos penned a concise article about him in the International Netsuke Society Journal. Volume 31. Number 1. Spring 2011. Miura Yoshinaga who, as the author describes, is obscure. Miura Yoshinaga’s work is of a spirit that reverberates from a time prior to his own. In his own skilful manner he remodelled subjects with finer detail and slightly daintier proportions, yet somehow retained the perspective of power that earlier work possess. He worked with a smattering of faces, slightly altering expressions to befit the theme.

Categorised as a Kyoto artist, his output does appear to have a Kyoto influence, though we are not completely convinced with this categorisation. The most impressive piece we know by Miura Yoshinaga and one we once owned, is a Kanzan and Jittoku, see the front cover of the above mentioned journal. The faces on this Netsuke are simply brilliant, the Kanzan, interestingly is remarkably similar to the face of a Shojo on a very fine Inro.

Please see; SL Moss. they are all fire and every one doth shine. The Elly Nordskog Collection. Number 36. By Hasegawa Ikko. Does this suggest a link between Miura Yoshinaga and Hasegawa Ikko? We think so, we can further augment this link. Please see; Carre Collection. Eskenazi. 1993. Number 6. A mixed material figure by Ikko and compare to just about any of the figures Milton Stratos illustrates in his article, but to be more specific. Please see; Chinaman with a Rooster Number 24. Could these two great artists have been student buddies in Minko’s workshop or just briefly worked together during the course of their careers? Perhaps we will never know, though any excuse to examine more from these two artists work sounds like fun to me.

For an ivory version of our Chokaro. Please see; Sagemonoya. Netsuke Exhibition catalogue 1998. Number 22.

Guide Price - £5000