Rare Wood Netsuke of Fukurokuju in the Manner of Masanao of Kyoto
Elegantly and simply carved with the lucky god standing with his hands joined, hidden within his voluminous sleeves, and holding a hu. The himotoshi behind is circular, that beneath oval, with deep excavation behind
Unsigned. Kyoto, circa 1780
Height: 5.3 cm
My attribution is instinctive, supported by comparison with the netsuke formerly in the Meinertzhagen collection (‘The Art of the Netsuke Carver’, no. 24, and MCI p. 445). It is best illustrated in Jirka-Schmitz’s catalogue of the Trumpf collection, vol. 2, no. 63, where she quotes Meinertzhagen’s analysis: ‘A carving of immense dignity and charm. The date apparently not earlier than early 19th century, but its surpassing character and originality compel me to accept it as an original Masanao. Like other netsuke by celebrated carvers it has quite probably been kept with exceptional care, and thus resisted the ageing effects to which netsuke are normally subjected”.