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Large Antique Japanese Netsuke
Happy Buddha
Eight Monkeys
U
nsigned, Circa: Meiji, late 19th Century
H.2 in.(5cm), W.2 in.(5cm), D.1.5 in.(3.8cm)
Condition: excellent!


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Eight Monkeys Netsuke

In 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 luck.

The 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.

  
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