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Antique Japanese Hirado Porcelain Netsuke
Herdboy on Ox
Fundamental Unity
Signature: Masakazu. Circa: 19th Century

Recorded in The Netsuke Handbook of Ueda Reikichi #85
H. 1.2 in.(3cm), W. 1.75 in.(4.5cm), D. 1 in.(2.5cm)
Condition: excellent!

Masakazu Signature
Sold To Private Collection

Herdboy on Ox Netsuke

In the late eighteenth century Japan, rapid development of the five major highways effectively turning Edo into the world’s most populated city. This created a huge demand for netsuke not only from Edo carvers, but also from netsuke-shi in nearby cities. Attracted by the steady business, along with the traditional carvers, metalsmiths and potters began to produce a large numbers of manju and katabori. Among ceramic netsuke such as Imari, Celadon and Bizen, Hirado was noted for its animal figures, and particularly favored by the Lord Matsuura (1760-1841). It became so popular that majority of porcelain netsuke were made of Hirado ware.

Over-glazed on a hollow core thin cast, hand traced and chiseled in details, adding additional realism that simulated the appearance of carved ivory. Signed Masakazu in raised high relief inside an oval reserve. The motif of this exceptionally fine Hirado porcelain netsuke of a Herdboy on Ox was originally conceived by the 12th century Chinese Zen Master Kuoan Shihyuan, who illustrated a series of ten ox-herding pictures depicting the stages of practice leading to the enlightenment. Masakazu was a successful netsuke carver with workshop in Edo, Kyoto and Osaka areas. Today many of his Hirado ware netsuke are found in the collection of Toledo Museum of Art in Ohio.

  
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