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Antique Japanese Edo Period Netsuke
Hunchback
Signature: Masayuki, Circa: 19th century
H 1.25 in.(3cm.), W 1 in.(2.5cm.), D 1 in.(2.5cm.)
Condition: minor loss

Though that left foot of this netsuke has been damaged a long time ago, this design perfect netsuke of a deformed Heretic, seated with scoop in hand, appeares to be ever ready for another sake.

This superb ivory netsuke is signed : Masayuki. The signature facsimile is judged to be consistent with Kato Masayuki, the Asakusa School's famous carver who lived in the Yotsuya, Tokyo around mid Edo era. Masayuki was known to have studied medicine but later devoted his life to carving netsuke. Some critics believed that Kato Masayuki was the student of Hosunsai Masayuki, others believed that they could well be the same man.

Hunchback netsuke

Sold To Private Collection

Kato Masayuki's subjects are fine ivory carving of oni, Ofuku and heretic. Althrough only a limited numbers of his netsuke are found today, he is considered a master, a genius by authoritative netsuke writer Neil K Davey. According to the 1982 Sotheby publication a Masayuki netsuke was bought for U.S. $1248; such price is likely considered a bargain by today's standard.

  
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