Project Description

Stained Ivory Netsuke of an Eagle and Three Monkeys by Nakamura Toshimaru 

Much of the surface worked to retain the stain, which is largely black for the feathers, while the crown of the eagle is intentionally left white.  The monkeys are lighter stained, with some red pigment, presumably to suggest blood where they are already pierced by the eagle’s talons. The eagle’s eyes have dark horn pupils inset right at the front for dramatic effect

Signed: Chikushu Nakamura Toshimaru. Hakata. Circa 1850

Height: 3.8 cm

Provenance: 

Sale, Sotheby’s London (Olympia), 7th April 2004, lot 94

Information:

Compare with a similar netsuke by Nakamura Toshimitsu in Rutherston & Bandini, ‘Japanese Netsuke’, May 2013, no. 26 (illustrated on the front and back cover).  Also see one in the Guffanti collection, signature undeciphered, in Hurtig’s ‘Masterpieces’, p. 78,no. 255. In the illustration of the last a signature line of 3 kanji is just discernible of which the last is ‘ken’, presumably Bokugyūken.  Hurtig suggests Iwami as the origin.  How our knowledge has moved on! One assumes that the unrecorded carver Nakamura Toshimaru is somehow directly linked to Nakamura Toshimitsu and Otoman, both apprentices of Bokugyūken Toshiharu. Much of this will be clearer from reading Alain Ducros’ account of a meeting with Otoman’s surviving descendant in the INSJ, 25/1

MR3088

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