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19th Century Masterpiece Netsuke
On One Foot w/ Minogame
Netsuke Signature: Hojitsu, Edo Period
H 1.6 in.(3.5cm), W 1 in.(2.5cm), D 0.75 in.(2cm)
Condition: minor restoration

A brilliant work by Hojitsu, who was acknowledged as the finest carver in all Tokyo, where he resided until his death. Hojitsu was a vassal of the shogun, even serving as a priest while he enjoyed his lordís sponsorship as a netsuke artist. His family crest consisted of a Chinese bellflower in a circle. He was also patronized by the Kaimyo of Tsugaru. He used the go Meikeisai, which was adopted from the characters indicating Keiseigakubo, the section of Tokyo where he lived. Upon his death in his early eighties in 1873 he was buried at the Renkyu-ji of the Nichiren sect in Tokyo, having outlasted all the other famed netsuke carvers of mid-century acclaim. He is distinguished also by his invention of the inlaying style of Tokoku which he steadily surpassed, and is also celebrated for his spectacular command of manju engraving in which he adapted techniques of painting and calligraphy to heighten the effects. He is one of only eight carvers honored by the Baur collection in Geneva with a color survey in their catalogue, and is extensively represented in the Tokyo National Museum.

Fukurokuju Netsuke Signed Hojitsu
Sold To Private Collection

Superb netsuke depicting Fukurokujo as a venerable old man balancing on one foot. Close grained ivory, cream to gold with age patina. Highly detailed, showing deep folds as well as superficial lines of the face, the mouth open with teeth individually carved, the beard falling fluidly with painterly carving of hairs. Robes descend in graceful folds finely decorated with clouds and edged with meanders. Bony fingers lift up a sleeve upon which is settled a minogame, companion in longevity.

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