Project Description

Early Netsuke of a Mermaid on a Scallop Shell 

A well used and war worn piece, carved with a small mermaid atop the shell to which cling three smaller shells

Unsigned.  Early 18th century

4 cm


This modest, battered netsuke excites me very much, as it is the key to some fascinating information.  I have previously owned and sold a remarkable large and heavy early ivory netsuke of shells, a scallop shell carved in a very distinctive manner, which I have since come across on other more modest netsuke.  Collectors will also be familiar with a series of ivory mermaids and mermen, as well as karyobinga, all evidently by the same anonymous hand.  Well, here, much to my surprise, we find that those two hands are identical.  I never suspected as much.