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Fox Kitsune Netsuke

Antique Coral Inlaid Netsuke
Kitsune
Reclining Fox

Netsuke Signature: Yoshiyuki, early 20th Century

H 1.25in.(3cm.), W 2.25in.(5.5cm.), D 1in.(2.5cm.)
Condition: very good!

Sold To Private Collection

Among the fauna of Japan, the fox is perhaps the strangest animal of all, many marvelous tales being told of his powers and pranks. Unfortunately the fox is not always the giver of good things. Many are the tales of his evil exploits in assuming human form and causing trouble and even disaster.” (--Ryerson). Stories are told of “fox possession”, usually of a woman.

As depicted in this netsuke, the fox is licking its coat, one eye closed in rapt absorption. However, the playful creature has the other eye trained outward mischievously, ever alert for the next game. The tongue and teeth are carved with great delicacy; the mouth turns up slightly in a canine smile. The surface is engraved with freely drawn lines in the direction of the fur and the long tail, which lifts slightly and curls forward. An unusually spirited carving, full of life and humor, the fox is a light honey in color; quite dark in the recessions and undercuts; worn smooth by touching on the ear, face and forward foot. Signature on the bottom “Yoshiyuki” in simplified characters. Although Yoshiyuki has been recorded in the essential early references, including Behrens 1922, Brockhaus 1905, F.M.Jonas 1928, Reikichi/Bushell in 1971, and Davey in the MT Hindson Collection. Little is known about this artist. However, our conservatively speaking, this remarkable and appealing work may be attributed to one the the most polific netsuke-shi of the early to mid 20th century... Yoshiyuki, real name Minoru Sakurai. Born January 26th, 1930 in Tokyo. Studied under his father Kosei Sakurai.

  
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