Antique Japanese Netsuke
Horse Play with Teacher
Rantei, Early 19th Century
2 in.(5cm), W 1 in.(2.5cm), D 0.8 in.(2cm)
Condition: minor usage worn, o.a. excellent!
humorous netsuke of two karako engaged in some after lesson horse play with their
teacher. The child to his right is caught mid-jump in an admiring plea for attention,
while the other, smaller child, perches contentedly on his teacher’s shoulder.
Intricate yet forceful curving details create a sense of movement, clean lines
beautifully stained over a golden patina. A masterpiece in originality and technique;
which confirms the hands of an Hogen...signed without reserve: Rantei.
Sold To Private Collection
the title of Hogen (literally translated as “Magic Eye”), an honorary title bestowed
upon artists by the shogunate, Nagai Rantei was a highly regarded netsuke carver
who did most of his work in the late 18th century. There has been some disagreement
amongst netsuke collectors as to his exact carving dates due to the fact that
his signature has been copied on more than a few pieces during the late 19th century.
Born in Izumo Province, Rantei came to live in Kyoto were he was known as a versatile
carver, primarily in ivory, and of animal figures. His distinct signature is comprised
of an attractive sosho.