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Neil Holton Japanese Art

Wood Snake

A wood study of a snake.

The serpent is coiled in readiness for the deadly strike. The snake in Netsuke-art often have similar shapes regardless of the region they were made. The animal naturally lends itself well to function. Our snake has a very unusual scale treatment, pronounced bobbles of random shapes in relief. Surrounding these relief scales the artist has added texture with stippling. Hasegawa Ikko used the same treatment for his Snakes on his Tonkotsu, as did Minko. In fact the latter sometimes used a similar manner for scales on his Kiyohime and Dojoji Bell subject. The underside of our snake contrasts with this treatment very well and gives an impression of the belly being soft. The eyes are inlaid in mother of pearl and dark horn which creates an alert feel to the animal, another feature of Minko, Ikko and even Tomin.

Tsu School. Circle of Minko. Last half of the 19th Century.

Ex: Julius & Arlette Katchen Collection.


Guide Price - £2,500