AN UNUSUAL AND RARE WOOD NETSUKE OF A RECLINING INFANT BOY BY MASAKAZU
19th century, Edo period (1615-1868)
This very plump boy is fully naked, lying on his curvy belly, propping himself up on one hand with both legs bent upwards. The finely carved facial features look very Chinese. Anatomically precise and lively with a healthy dose of humor; note the boy’s large cheeks and genitals. Himotoshi on the side through a thigh and the belly, signed MASAKAZU on the same thigh. Fine patina.
This highly unusual and rare netsuke bears some resemblance to renaissance paintings of angels and infants; however, the motion of the body reminds one of a tennin. This netsuke may have come from the same source of inspiration as Rensai’s brilliant tennin published in ‘Kokusai the Genius: and Stag-antler Carving in Japan’, Sydney L. Moss, Ltd., 2016, no. 355.
LENGTH 4.3 CM
Condition: Good condition, one foot has been reattached
Provenance: British private collection