Project Description

Exceptional ivory netsuke of a rat by Yamaguchi Okatomo (active 1780-1830) 

Crouching with its front paws resting on a small edamame bean and scratching itself with a hind paw.  The eyes are almond shaped cabochons of buffalo horn.  There is minimal wear to the incised hairwork and staining

Signed: Okatomo.  Kyoto, before 1800

Length: 4.3 cm


Anonymous sale, Sotheby’s London, 20th February 1986, lot 132 (hammer price £7,500)

Klaus Riess, Munich


This is almost identical to a netsuke in the Baur Collection, Geneva, illustrated in Coullery and Newstead catalogue, no. C-1133. Surprisingly there is another Okatomo rat in the same colleciton, not scratching its ear (no. C-1134).  These three are the only rats with beans by Okatomo that I know


Netsuke Kenkyukai Study Journal, 6/2 (1986), pp. 30-31, illustrated in a report of the Sotheby’s sale

Bulletin Association Franco-Japonaise, 13 (June 1986), p. 31, illustrated in a similar report