Ryoji - 5494
This netsuke depicts the pair of fantastic creatures Ashinaga (long foot, 足長) and Tenaga (long hand, 手長): the latter, laying his head on a hard pillow and his buttock resting on a wicker basket, is playing with two sticks the big drum Ashinaga is carrying on his shoulders. The umbos of the drum are inserts in horn. There are no holes of the himotoshi but the cord could pass through the space formed between the arms and legs. This example of the Lanfranchi collection is a variation of the more classical iconography in which these supernatural creatures are depicted while fishing, helping each other. The signature Ryoji (凌次) is engraved under the pillow.
Ryoji, active in the second half of the nineteenth century, was part of the workshop of Ono Ryomin, an important artist of the school of Edo/Tokyo. Sometimes he signed Ryoji Ono (小野 凌次). His production was mainly export-oriented. The first character of the signature 凌, ryo, of this netsuke has the particularity of being in a cursive form that is not among those most commonly used by Ryoji. Another netsuke of this artist, with three oni (demons, 鬼) on a mask, is part of the Lanfranchi collection.
Lastly, there is another piece of the Lanfranchi collection in which is represented only Tenaga.