Project Description

Large wood netsuke of the Kanshin story by Tokujuko Unkoku 

Three drunken fishermen taunt Kanshin by forcing him to crawl through their legs.  The reverse of the netsuke shows Kanshin and an ox seated beneath a rocky precipice, the swirling waters of the moat shown on the underside of the netsuke

Signed: Tokujuko Unkoku.

5.2 cm across


E.R. Levett and Prof. & Mrs J. Hull Grundy, sold in the latter’s sale at Sotheby’s London, 28th June 1978, lot 121; J. Carré, Sheila Baker and again J. Carré collections


Lazarnick records the netsuke as the only known work by this artist, while Fuld’s Index lists eight in all by an artist named Unkoku (not all necessarily the same man). To me this is a quite remarkable narrative netsuke


Sotheby’s, London, 6th May 1975, lot 103

Sotheby’s, London, 28th June 1978, lot 121

INCS, vol. 8, no.2, p. 53, fig. 2

Lazarnick, Netsuke and Inro Artists and how to read their signatures, p. 1205

Eskenazi Ltd., Japanese netsuke from the Carré collection, London 1993, no.32

Rutherston & Bandini Ltd., Sheila Baker Collection, 2011, no. 27