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Antique Horn Inlays Netsuke
Fire Baku
Devours Bad Dreams

Unsigned, Circa: 18th-early 19th Century
h. 1.5 in.(3.5cm.), w. 1.5 in.(3.5cm.), d. 1 in.(2.5cm.)
Condition: usage worn and cracklines


Fire Baku Bottom
Sold To Private Collection

This fine authentic Baku netsuke displays a masterful carving style that unquestionably dates it to 18th century Edo. The intricate relationship of curves, arcs and roundels is the work of a supremely accomplished artist, one firmly established in the use of ivory as his primary material, expertly articulating such flamboyant features as the billowing balls of fur, the pointed claws and the curl elephant trunk which possesses a distinctly antiquity appearance and lends a sophisticated touch of humor.

The major carvers of The Tokyo School such as Komei and Yoshida Homei are recognized and recorded and the works of their schools highly prized. During the 70-year period between 1780 and 1850, (considered the golden age of netsuke) a multitude of fine quality netsuke were produced by artists located in Osaka, Kyoto, and Edo (Tokyo), who had access to ivory, while artists outside of these population centers used box or cherry wood, narwhal (marine ivory), boar's tusk, amber, stag antler, pottery, bamboo etc.

Netsuke of the Edo school, such as this shishi, exhibit motifs and techniques favored by the material--ivory is exceptionally close grained and may be cut in any direction, allowing ex! treme fineness of detail, unrestricted undercutting, and a high hand polish with the characteristic unctuous surface and translucence of ivory. The baku's eyes are meticulously inset with minute orbs of translucent horn. The bristling fur has been finely and rhythmically delineated, as have the individual teeth and the upright ears, which have been bored with small holes, presumably to allow the shishi to hear subtle sounds. A tongue of flame can be seen emerging from beneath the animalís right paw.

Mythical Baku Netsuke ltMythical Baku Netsuke rt
Mythical Baku Netsuke bottomMythical Baku Holding Ball
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