hare in Japan is seen as symbol of good fortune. They are often considered kami,
spirits in disguise. To walk well in the world was to consider and honor this
elemental truth of nature. The wise man or woman understands that all is not always
as it might appear. This compelling ivory netsuke depicts a hare holding a plump
daikon, a radish. Look closely and we see an in-depth study of its character,
a high level of artistic acumen in the symmetrical and finely rendered parallel
lines of this creature's fur. The laid back ears appear supple and quiver with
charms. Although the rabbit's sweet appeals partial to our emotions. The subtlety
and refinement of the netsuke clearly approached an aloof perfection in its sculpted
The influence of Kaigyokusai is apparent in this netsuke. It is undoubtedly
carved in the late 19th century. Not unlike many carvers of this time, there is
little information available on the carver Santake, whose signature is incised
on the right foot of the rabbit. The ivory is beautifully aged. It appears to
come from the tip of a mammoth tusk, with a patina varying in a rich cream color.
The detail is finely picked out and has worn gently over the years.