A large dramatic wood netsuke depicting the yokai Mikoshi Nyudo, with a movable head and eyes inlaid in shell, towering over a petrified man.
The man’s mouth is wide open, screaming as he tries to push away the advancing terror. His face is exceptional, capturing the moment perfectly. The apparition rises from a wisp at the base of the petrified man’s feet. The body of the Mikoshi Nyudo is smooth and perfect in the hand, undecorated other than a bolt of lightning incised down each side of its body. The massive head, bearing a wonderful expression with deeply furrowed brow and huge eyes, wobbles and turns freely. The himotoshi is formed of two holes, one above the other.
I know of two other published examples of this subject by Hasegawa Ikko. One in dark wood from the Bushell Collection. Another, much closer to our example, is illustrated with a brilliant write-up by Joe Earle, number 135 in, Netsuke: Fantasy and Reality in Japanese Miniature Sculpture. Joe provides an insightful description, quoting an image of a similar subject in the 1713 encyclopaedia, Wakan Sansei Zue.
Signed, Ikko (Hasegawa Ikko)
Early 19th century
Height: 5.8cm Depth: 5cm Width: 28cm
Similar examples: Christies, Bushell Collection part 1991/04/23 lot – 231 also published in MCI, page 220
Joe Earle, 2001, Netsuke: Fantasy and Reality in Japanese Miniature Sculpture, number 135
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