Gyokuho - 5392

Gyokuho, Japan

Tanikaze, Sumō Champion, with His Rival and Two Men
early Meiji period (1868 - 1912)
4,2x4,2x3,5 cm
玉法 (Gyokuho)
2005 bequest Maria Taglietti Lanfranchi
Inv. 5392

In this netsuke, Tanikaze (谷風) great sumo champion who lived between 1750 and 1795, holds his opponent’s foot and left arm, forcing him to stay on all fours. Of the two characters who observe the scene, one, the referee, is standing and holding a fan and hits the right shoulder of the champion, the other is sitting. Under the base is the himotoshi that consists in only one hole. Nearby, in addition to the signature Gyokuho and two banners with the name of Tanizake repeated twice, is depicted a river scene, with a bridge on the right.

Gyokuho is a carver whose name is not included in the lists of known artists, but several of his pieces are documented in American museums. His favourite material was ivory and his style is that of the carvers who worked for export in the early Meiji period (1868-1912). Among his subjects are legendary figures, Shoki, oni, and as you can see from the piece of the Lanfranchi collection, the great sumo champion Tanikaze.