Romancing On Lotus Leaf
Tomoichi, early 1900s'
H 1in.(2.5cm.), W 1.5 in.(4cm.), D 1.25 in.(3cm.)
Condition: losses of coral inlays, o.a. excellent
subject, composition and treatment, this ivory demonstrates the essential esthetics
and inherent scope of the art of netsuke. The work seems to be a satire on romance
with the two knobby creatures beginning to touch, as the webbed foot of the larger
toad imposes on the foot of the smaller, presumably female toad. Toads have been
known to attempt to consume other toads of similar size, so one can not be entirely
certain of the intentions of either animal. This ambiguity sharpens the element
of humor, which is not without a philosophical bent. It is an earthy humor in
any case, which is amplified by the artist’s precision in reproducing the rough
and warty skins of the “couple”. Their expressions and body language add to the
characterization and present themselves for further speculation.
Sold To Private Collection