Japanese Stag Antler Netsuke
Chinese Taoist Immortal
Signature: Unsigned, 19th Century
H 2.75in.(7cm.), W 1.25in.(3cm.), D 1in.(2.5cm.)
Condition: very good !
amazingly expressive antler carving is a fine specimen of an 18th century netsuke.
Held in the sennin's right hand, the twisted cane resembling a flowing sash is
a popular design of the time. The large gourd on his back helps to identify this
figure as Chokaro (Chinese Chang Kuo-lao), one of the eight Chinese Taoist Immortals
who was believed to be the relative of the Emperor, typically portrayed in imperial
court robes; whereas this hoary figure emerges from the stag antler posting a
startling contrast to the Chinese version. Nevertheless, its jagged appearance
adds great charm and realism to this netsuke. In addition, its spiritual power
is realized in the medium itself; since the deer was believed to be the only animal
capable of rooting out the fungus of immortality, its life-extending essence is
thought to be contained in the antler. Therefore the stag antler is an especially
appropriate material for a netsuke of an immortal sennin.
Sold To Private Collection