Project Description

Ivory brush pot carved with rats by Kihodo Masakazu (Osaka, dates around 1838-1911)

Carved all around the body with innumerable rats, climbing through holes in a wall and clambering over each other and bales of rice.  The eyes are all inlaid with horn.  The upper part of the rim of the pot is carved with Buddhist auspicious treasures, and the side rims are carved with rinzu (key-fret)

Signed beneath ‘un’ensai kihō koku’ with seal ‘masakazu’. Circa 1900

Height: 24 cm


S. Marchant & Son, London, 2001


The artist was a virtuoso ivory carver of the Meiji period.  For an okimono of the disappointed rat catcher and his wife, see S.L. Moss, ‘Such Stuff as Dreams are Made on’, 2008, no. 85; and for two netsuke by his great pupil Masaka, see idem nos. 85 and 87