Project Description

Wood Netsuke of a Kirin, Attributed to Masatoshi

A mid-toned, slightly red-stained, cypress wood netsuke of a kirin, standing with arched back, all four hoofs together and straining its head round while looking up with its mouth wide open. The scales of the body appear to have been worn with the intention of suggesting age. The eyes are inlaid with large dark horn pupils, and there is no bored himotoshi
Unsigned. Tokyo. Circa 1960-80
Height: 9.7 cm
Although at first sight, this netsuke appears to be old, 18th century even, closer inspection leads one to begin to think of it as younger. It is suspiciously close in conception to the kirin carved from similar wood in the Irving Gould collection, published in The Gould Collection of Netsuke, pp. 26-27. Masatoshi did of course carve at least two kirin of this shape in ebony, to which he appended his signature. For illustrations of those see, R. Bushell, Masatoshi,The Art of Netsuke Carving, no. 99 and the Sydney L. Moss Ltd. catalogue of the Willi Bosshard collection, Such Stuff as Dreams are Made on, no. 95. The former seems to have the same exaggerated upward curl of the upper lip. To add to the suspicion a very similar netsuke to the present one was published under the heading ‘Eighteen Greats’ in Journal of the International Netsuke Collectors’ Society,  7/1, p. 20, with the added rubric ‘newly discovered; premiere exhibit’
Marc Severin and Nino Marakovic collections, more recently in a private Belgian collection
Rutherston & Bandini, Japanese Netsuke, 2013, no. 67


Price Band N1520

From £15,000 - £20,000

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