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Fine Antique Japanese Netsuke
Tekkai Sennin
On One Feet With Gourd
Signature: unsigned, Mid 18th Century
H 2.5 in.(6.5cm), W 1 in.(2.5cm), D 0.75 in.(2cm)
Condition: hairlines and slight usage worn

A classic triangulated early netsuke, compact and tapering in design, cream to gold in color with blue age cracks, well marked with striations and crosshatching. Forcefully graphic and well carved depiction of the Immortal Tekkai (Chinese Li T’ieh Kuai), a master of equanimity, seen here in his characteristic stance with staff and gourd, his resolute countenance watchful. Despite the extreme narrowing of the design at the bottom, the piece is perfectly balanced and able to stand on its own.

Tekkai Sennin netsuke
Sold To Private Collection

Tekkai was an imposing figure, well built, tall and graceful. His brilliance and abilities were acknowledged by the great Lao-Tse, who summoned him to heaven for lessons, for which Tekkai was given the ability to exhale his soul that it might travel without the encumbrance of his body. After a journey he returned to find his body had been eaten by a tiger. Seeing the fresh corpse of a crippled beggar by the road, Tekkai entered that body and lived out his life in it, cheerfully limping along with the aid of a staff upon which he is seen resting his foot, continuing his life as a wandering philosopher, ever generous, compassionate and devout.

  
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