the later netsuke carvers, Shofu (1917- ) is well recognized for his work in ivory,
painting and calligraphy. His father, from whom he learned carving, was the famous
Tokyo netsukeshi Shugetsu, Shofu’s interest in Noh brings theatrical motifs into
his work, as in this playful netsuke, with its wood box that opens to reveal an
Okame mask, a talisman of happiness and good fortune.
from high quality ivory near the tip of the tusk, well marked with striations
and Schreger lines, in a medium cream color with cool undertones, depicting a
seated man laughing as he plays with a charm box containing a mask of the mirthful
Okame. Engraving and sumi for the details, the wood grain of the box and the embroideries.
The box lid is attached by a cord and can be opened to reveal the Okame mask inside.
Remarkably, all pieces have remained together.