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Antique Japanese Netsuke
Sacred Elephant
In Procession
Signed: Gyokuseki. Circa: early 1900S'
H 1.75 in.(4.5cm), W 1.75 in.(4.5cm), D 0.75 in.(2cm)
Condition: excellent!

The sacred white elephant lived in the palace complex like a guest, was fed delicacies and draped in fine textiles, watched over by the emperor’s own physician, bathed and oiled regularly, sung to and petted. Its wellbeing was an omen; any harm coming to it must be allayed. The elephant in general represents strength, wisdom and prudence and the white elephant is sacred, as it was a white elephant which descended to bring the Buddha to birth from the right side of Mayadevi. Well carved in cream colored ivory with age patina, striations and Schreger lines, and signed on the rear left foot, the elephant wears a rich caparison, decorated with beaded ornaments and engraved clouds.

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