Hidechika - 5406

Hidechika, Edo/Tokyo school

Mirror Polisher
Tomochika workshop, late 19th century
3,1x4,1x2,6 cm
秀親 (Hidechika)
2005 bequest Maria Taglietti Lanfranchi
Inv. 5406

In this netsuke, bent on his knees, a craftsman (shokunin, 職人) is polishing a mirror shaped after the ideogram kokoro (心) which means "heart, mind". This scene illustrates the phrase "kokoro o migaku", literally "clean the heart", to be understood as "refine the mind". Under the base there are the himotoshi's holes, nearby the signature Hidechika (秀 親).

Hidechika was a famous carver of the Tomochika school. In his signature is often associated the art name Chounsai (長雲齋). The material he more widely used was ivory. His favourite subjects were the gods of fortune and scenes of everyday life. He was active in the mid-nineteenth century, later work may be due to pupils who used his name. The good quality of this piece from the Lanfranchi collection and the subject, reported among those used by the artist, make it attributable to the hand of the first Hidechika and confirms that he sometimes ​used wood. In the Lanfranchi collection there are a netsuke depicting Daruma, created by one of the masters of Tomochika workshop, and other pieces of Tomotaka and Tomotoshi, who were part of the same workshop.