Project Description

Boxwood Netsuke of Tengu no Tamago, attributed to Naito Toyomasa

Emerging from its egg, one muscular arm resting on the shell, the other reaching back to ease its right wing out

Unsigned. Circa 1800

Length: 3.9 cm

Toyomasa tengu come in two distinct varieties, what one might describe as the passive and the truculent, of which this is the latter type.  For illustrations of the two types side by side, see S.L. Moss, ‘Japanese Netsuke, Serious Art’, nos. 27 and 28. It must however be stated that the attribution is nothing if not tentative.  Many years ago we sold an ivory version with a convincing signature of Masanao of Kyoto.  The likelihood is that several masters played with this design