South Sea Islander - inv. 5589
The netsuke in ebony portrays a seated man that holds in his hands and feet a twig of coral. The two holes of the himotoshi are on the inferior side of the composition.
The netuskeshi portrayed strangers with dark skin since the late 18th century, however this theme was particularly widespread in the 1800s, when the artists, and especially the ones active in Edo/Tokyo, experimented successfully the combination of different materials. In this piece the dark ebony well fits with the red of the coral to represent a fisherman of the Southern seas.