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Centemporary Japanese Carved Netsuke
Two Quails
Feeding in Mullet Basket

Netsuke Signature: Ittan, early 19th Century
H 0.75 in.(2cm), W 1.75 in.(4.5cm), D 1.75 in.(4.5cm)
Condition: minor chips!

Ittan was a member of the Toba clan who later lived and worked in Nagoya and Gifu. He is noted in all the references as an excellent wood and ivory carver who preferred to carve figures and animals. He used to carry his current work with him, polishing it with his kimono sleeve. He was the teacher of Suzuki Masanao, also called Masanao I, the most famous of the artists who bear that name. Ittan died around 1877.

Two Quails on Mullet Basket Netsuke
Sold To Private Collection
This netsuke depicts two quail in a basket. It is carved from a cream colored piece of ivory, which has been thinned to translucence and textured finely to represent the straw basket, in which whole bunches of fresh millet have been laid, with long weathered leaves. The two quail are cohabiting nicely in the basket, which, with its abundance of food, provides them with no reason to quarrel. This would seem to contradict the customary meaning of the subject, envisioning instead a tableau of peace and plenitude.
  
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