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Cowboy Playing Flute Netsuke

Antique Japanese Netsuke
Karako Cowboy
Playing Flute
Signature: not translated, Early 19th Century
H 1.6 in.(4cm), W 1.6 in.(4cm), D 1 in.(2.5cm)
Condition: usage worn, o.a. good


Sold To Private Collection

A popular motif in Chinese decorative art, a boy plays flute on the back of an ox. The boy’s clothing is finely but sparingly detailed while his flute is subtly highlighted with red; the only addition of color to the creamy ivory. A happy expression graces the boy’s face. The ox, as equally lassez faire, is imbued with whimsical features; non-threatening horns (a symbol of Buddhist consciousness), a rounded baby-like body, thinly etched and stained fur, and the impression of bones poking through its rear haunches. A rope wrapped around its head leads up to his young master’s chest, a thin ribbon of ivory rising from the ground. Unimpeded, the two make for a fine coupling. Slightly worn, showing possible signs of loss on the back of saddle. Heavily worn five character kanji signature on the bottom is unreadable.

  
  
  
  
  
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