Sennin is one of the Taoist immortals of good fortune and immortality: Gama means
toad and sennin means immortal. Gama is a benign sage with deep alchemical knowledge
about pills, herbs and elixirs. He can assume the shape of a toad and of course
soften his skin and revert to a youthful form at anytime.
This ivory netsuke shows a youthful depiction of Gama Sennin lying on his
belly with a toad on his back. The toad is quite glorious: With his scaly back,
and smooth full belly he drapes luxuriantly over the immortal. Gama’s kimono is
rich with details on the hems and sash and is replete with a subtle floral pattern.
Leaves fall from his sash representative of his transparency with nature and his
knowledge of medicinal herbs. Gama reads an open book, signifying his knowledge
and wisdom. The book’s pages display loosely rendered characters. The expression
on the immortals face is one of pure unbridled mirth.
artist’s signature Gyokutei is carved onto the cover of the book. A 19th century
netsukeshi recorded in "Netsuke" by Neil Davey #454. (SD)