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Ivory Netsuke of a Monkey on Namazu

Ivory Netsuke of a Monkey on Namazu


Ivory netsuke of a monkey on namazu
Anonymous Artist

A superlative example of this 18th century subject, much less worn than is often the case, the monkey’s feet better defined. He holds his gourd in front of him, its bulges looking very much like a pair of ample breasts. He has a good expressive face with protruding pupils in dark material, while the fish’s eyes are similar flush inlays, and the whole piece has a good dark patina.

Circa 1780
Width: 4.9cm

Compare with two other examples, to my mind inferior: the Behrens variant, best studied in the Eskenazi catalogue of the Jacques Carré collection, no. 171, and one in Sydney L. Moss, More Things in Heaven and Earth, no. 4. In both of those the monkey holds the gourd behind his head as though it were a pillow.

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