A fine large wood netsuke depicting Kiyohime climbing the bell of dojoji. Kiyohime leans forward with an almost pitiful, sad facial expression, her hair running down her back and separating with the lines of her kimono. The large claws griping the bell and her tail is wrapped around its lower section, the surface of the bell well detailed.
Signed to the bottom of the kimono, Sukeyuki. It’s not the typical subject for Hida carvers, and Sukeyuki is better known for his frogs and skulls. but I do believe this to be from Izumi Sukeyuki's hand. When one compares the tone of the reddish stain to a skull netsuke that was sold at the Julius and Arlette Katchen Collection of Fine Netsuke Part II, 10 May 2017 lot 78, the gentle rolls of the robes against the stems of the lotus pods that the Sukenaga line of the Hida school carvers are known for, there is a striking similarity.
Several openings between Kiyohime’s body and the bell would make a suitable himotoshi.
Signed, Sukeyuki (Izumi Sukeyuki; 1838–1920)
Late 19th century
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