A bulky netsuke, the subject had long frustrated its previous owner, who was undecided as to who he is and what he holds in his arms. I’ve certainly enjoyed my hours of studying this netsuke. It feels bulky in the hand and is really enjoyable to handle – I’m clearly not the first to feel this way about him, the surface is nicely worn and bears a fine patina.
In my opinion, the bald scalp and curls of hair along with loincloth point towards an islander, more precisely a Kurombo diver. He is depicted seated; wearing nothing but his loincloth, he clings to his prize. It’s my belief that he holds a large piece of coral, and he seems to be very proud of his find.
Unsigned, Tsu school
Ex-Sheila M. Baker collection
Published in Rutherston and Bandini, “The Sheila M. Baker Collection of Japanese Netsuke and Inrō”.
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