Rain Dragon - inv. 5622
This netsuke, which was also used as a seal, is almost certainly inspired by a Chinese model and it depicts a dragon (tatsu or ryu, 龍 or 竜) on a oval plinth. Under the base there are four ideograms in tensho characters which have not been identified. The himotoshi is natural.
The rain dragon (amaryu, 蛟龍) is one of the many dragon variations described in the Chinese literature. It is believed it had yellow scales, it had no horns, it was similar to a marine horse and it had the power to control the rains and the floods.
In Japanese art, representations of this animal started to appear only in the 17th century. In the Lanfranchi collection there is a different representation of the theme of the dragon that was made with unusual materials.