Kyoto or Osaka School

Kyoto or Osaka School

c. 1760 to c. 1790 Japan

Offered by Sydney L Moss Ltd

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A large, very rare ivory netsuke of a mask (or head) of Kan’u, the Hero of Han from the Water Margin story-telling novel. The hair of the Chinese general’s head is gathered and tied in a cloth, the folds of which frame the head. The acutely slanting eyes of the solemn , brooding face are inlaid in contrasting dark brown and reddish horn. The hairs of the eyebrows and beard are deeply incised in long, inked lines, the beard terminating in an elegant knot, a traditional symbol of martial prowess. The mask is carved from a beautifully figured piece of ivory, the lines of which run vertically down the face, the reverse with
pleasing striations of light and dark material at top and bottom. Some observers see in the reverse the silhouette of a hunched full length ghost emerging from a wisp of cloud.

Good condition
Probably ex Donald Mendelson collection, New York City.
Private collection, Dallas TX.
Illustrated: Eskenazi catalogue, 1980, no. 60.

To be published in our forthcoming netsuke catalogue, "More Things in Heaven and Earth".
Height 12.90 cm (5.08 inches)
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Sydney L Moss Ltd

Sydney L Moss Ltd
12 Queen Street

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