Kunitsugu - 5531

Kunitsugu - Japan

Wild Boar on a Bed of Autumn Leaves
18th century
2,6x7,0x2,7 cm
國次 (Kunitsugu)
2005 bequest Maria Taglietti Lanfranchi
Inv. 5531

Wooden netsuke that depicts a boar sleeping on a bed of Autumn leaves, among which maple ones are recognizable. The holes of the himotoshi, one bigger than the other, are on the lower side of the composition. Nearby is the signature Kunitsugu  (國次). The boar (hinoshishi, 猪) is the twelfth animal of the zodiac; it represents the tenth month and the time between nine and eleven p.m.. It is considered a strong and brave animal that confronts his enemies directly without hesitation.

In Japanese tradition the boar is connected to Autumn: one of the most common images, also in netsuke, is that of the boar among grasses on a bed of Autumn leaves,  such as the maple leaves and others that are called “the seven leaves of Autumn”. Usually in the 18th century this composition was much favoured by artists active in the Kyōto area, that used mainly ivory. We do not have other information on this artist, author of this piece from the Lanfranchi collection. The netsuke, which shows evident signs of prolonged use, can be dated to the 1700s. Another boar of far more recent workmanship, present in this collection, was executed by Chomin.



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