A wood netsuke depicting a fine mushroom and chestnut group. The underside of the mushroom is very well worked with fine gills splitting as they reach the edge of the mushroom, and nestled into the large stalk are two chestnuts. The top of the mushroom is smooth, with a huge and very nice himotoshi. The piece has a faint signature just above the smaller himotoshi hole; I believe it reads Nobuhisa, but that is an unrecorded artist and it could well have been added later.
I've seen or handled five or six quite similar mushroom netsuke, all have had two traits in common: the large and unusual stalk, and the gills – all very finely done and all split as they reach the edge of the mushroom. Yet the final composition differed with each. One in the British Museum's collection that I handled had a lovely snail to the top and was covered in ukibori. Another with a snail sold at Bonhams in 2018, but this one was lacking the ukibori. Another had a rat included, though I believe that was added later, and two were simply mushrooms. Sadly, none were signed (or at least convincingly), making attribution impossible. Nevertheless, they form an interesting group.
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