A large awabi (abalone) shell has become home to an octopus and pair of molluscs. The trio sit snuggled together atop the awabi shell, the shell is well detailed with darkly stained stippling to the surface, the respiratory pores that define the ridge of the awabi are particularly well carved. The octopus’s chubby tentacles extend across the surface, encircling its two companions – or lunch, as they may well be – the eyes inlaid. The underside shows the flesh of the awabi, with the himotoshi formed from a larger and a smaller circular hole.
Signed to the base Kigestu, a rare artist with only two netsuke recorded in the MCI, one being this piece and the other depicting a crab atop an awabi shell. At least one other netsuke by this hand exists, again depicting an awabi with sea life on top. Clearly, Kigetsu, a talented carver, was very fond of seafood but not so fond of carving, with so few netsuke recorded to his name.
Sold at Sotheby’s 11/12/2003 lot 163
Ex-Carlo Monzino collection
Recorded in the MCI with no illustration
Sold at Sotheby’s December 1955
If you are interested in purchasing this netsuke you can contact me via the details below.
Phone or Whatsapp: +447534 423 803
Web: Click Here