BRONZE BUDDHAWOOD BUDDHASTONE BUDDHAJAPANESE NETSUKE
    
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Antique Japanese Skull Netsuke
Monk Contemplating
The First Noble Truth

Netsuke Signature: Juzan, (Ishikawa Komei)
Tokyo, 19th Century, circa: 1852-1913

Recorded in: 1) Netsuke, A Comprehensive Study Based
on the M.T. Hindson Collection by Neil K. Davey, #974,
2) Netsuke Handbook by Ueda Reikichi #418
Condition: excellent
Juzan Netsuke Signature

In this carving by Ishiwara Komei, (also known by his go as Mitsuaki and Hoyusai ) the blind monk, aged and with failing senses, examines death now by actual touch rather than by youthful speculation, and while he is close to annihilation, he raises high his mala with a smile, showing his faith in the essential power of the Truth that transcends life and death.

Monk Contemplating Skull Netsuke

Sold To Private Collection

Born in 1852, Komei, after a period as a painter, learned carving from Masamitsu Kikugawa, a member of a family of carvers in Tokyo. Masamitsu made netsuke until the advent of foreign trade through Yokohama, when he began to produce only okimono for export. Ishikawa Komei was Masumitsu’s most famous student, whose remarkable technique made him the most acclaimed ivory carver of the Meiji period, not only for the subtlety and conviction of his carving, but for his ability to express profound thought through modest means.

This netsuke is a superb example of the fabled skill of Komei. The weary yet happy face of the monk, the grisly skull with its missing tooth, and especially the hand, which doesn’t rest on the surface of the skull, but is held touching it tentatively with fingertips, as if to find out what it really is; these subtle details comprise an outstanding work by a known master of netsuke.

  
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Monk Contemplating Skull Netsuke Signed Juzan
  
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