are the first sign of the Chinese Zodiac, and known for their creativity and tenacity,
but also for their relationship to disease and death. This modern sashi ivory
netsuke skillfully depicts a small family of rats scampering across a ladder.
Perhaps a reference to the “rat race”, or climbing the corporate ladder, the mother
urges her children on only to see them turning back around. Beautifully etched,
the fur is particularly fine, tiny lines following the contours of their tiny
bodies. Their charming faces each sport a faint smile; eyes inlayed with black
horn. This piece is superbly crafted and carved, the scripted signature indicated
the work of a fine artist. In very good condition.