Wood Mask Netsuke of Hannya by Naito Toyomasa
The haggard, emaciated visage with saw like teeth, two thin locks of hair springing from her brow and falling behind her horns, serving to reinforce them. The cavities of the carving are stained black
Signed. Tamba. Circa 1850
Height: 4.9 cm
The Meinertzhagen Card Index, illustrated p. 954
Meinertzhagen states his belief that this is a Meiji copy, a claim disputed by the late respected Dr. James Rose, the present owner and myself. Fuld lists only 5 masks by Toyomasa, 2 of Hannya (the present one and the Kohler example illustrated in ‘Paris-Edo’, no. 9), one of Warai-Jo (sold by Zacke, Vienna, 25th September 2020, lot 235 for €22,752) and 2 of Tengu (possibly duplicate entries for the same mask). I have since sold another Hannya. Two of these masks have inscriptions with age 74 and 82, indicating that they are late works by the artist, who died in 1856. A feature of the aforementioned Warai-jo mask is that veiewed from behind it presents a different ghost-like mask. The present Hannya is similar, the alternative mask being rather comical. This is one of the points which convinces me that Meinertzhagen is mistaken, not for the first time.