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Neil Holton Japanese Art

Gama Sennin Hako

A large wood Hako Netsuke.

Round in shape, the face decorated with a smiling Gama Sennin accompanied by his Toad. Both of these duo have alive inlaid eyes and are framed within a circular border. The reverse is domed, which when one holds the piece one finds it attracts the thumb, which glides over the patinated and polished wood with ease. This reverse also has the added benefit of a beautiful formed himotoshi, deeply excavated and oval in shape. Our box Netsuke, being of large size also has a spacious hiding place within for whatever it is that would have been housed. The bottom cases rims are arch borded which tightens and secures the housing.

The figure reminds me of the work of Yasusada Shuzan. Interestingly the Toad on our Hako is extremely Shuzan-esque, and if I was to guess at the artist that made our Hako, Shuzan would be who I would propose. It was this that first attracted me to the piece the spirited expression of the Sennin and the Shuzan Toad just couldn’t be resisted.

Probably Echigo, by Shuzan or close follower. First half of the 19th Century.

Ex: Julius Katchen Collection.

Guide Price - SOLD