A fine, woven pipe case of musozutsu form. A large, galloping black horse stretches around the case. Its tail and mane are worked to depict strands of fine hair. The body of the animal in smooth black lacquer but when one rolls the pipe case, the light picks up very finely sprinkled shell that glows and adds real depth to the work. Falling from above are cherry blossoms, scattered around the horse in silver.
The pipe case was exhibited in London and published in Rosemary Bandini’s accompanying 2017 catalogue, Japanese netsuke, kiseruzutsu lacquer and works of art, in which she gives a description of the subject as below:
“Cherry blossom is associated with the warrior Kagesue, who is sometimes depicted riding into his final battle with a branch of blossom tucked into his armour. There are also woodblock prints showing his wife accompanied by a girl carrying a branch of blossom. This depiction, however, refers to an earlier and happier episode recorded in the Heikei Monogatari (Tales of Heikei) when he issued a friendly challenge to Sasaki Takatsuna to race across the Uji river on horseback. For his steed he rode Yoritomo’s black horse, Surusumi.”
Signed, Koshin (Maeyama Koshin)
Late 19th century
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