this rare large netsuke from the 19th century. Eight lively figures stacked up
in round, a tactile composition modeled in gentle planes and soft edges. The largest
monkey appears to be in meditation, oblivious to seven small monkeys crawling
on him, fooling around in various gestures. This image is a clue to the pervasive
symbolism in Buddhist art-- for its obvious reference to the popular Happy Buddha
Hotei, with whom is always surrounded by children; which also symbolized good
subject matter of this netsuke suggested the spiritual devotion of the carver.
It has been sculpted with regard for the original quality ivory tusk. Carved with
directness and free of unnecessary details, buoyantly composed and well-balanced,
with finely carved hairlines, curvilinear movements, and most remarkably, the
saintly harmony conveyed in the face of the large monkey Buddha. The ivory is
pristine, the carving impressive and of generous size; sturdy, with a high polish
accentuating the lightness of mood.