Shunzan - 5631
Netsuke in lacquered wood representing six gourds arranged one on top of the other, the cord (himo) passing through two narrow openings formed among the gourds. On one of them is placed the segnature Shunzan (春山).
Six gourds (六 瓢) joined together in Japanese are named mubyo. This word is homophone with the one having characters 無病 which mean "no illness". This is the reason why this composition is used as a talisman that protects against deseases. The lacquer of this particular piece of the Lanfranchi collection is of Negoro type. This technique consists in overlapping a uniform layer of red lacquer on a similarly homogeneous preparation of black lacquer. The definition Negoro refers to a Buddhist temple in which, it was said, monks produced the best lacquers.
Shunzan, author of this netsuke, is an artist of the second half of the 19th century, known thanks to a few pieces in lacquered wood, including this piece from the Lanfranchi collection.
The bottle gourd object of this netsuke, of an inedible kind, is also named hyotan (葫). For a different model of gourd present in the Lanfranchi collection see the Nobumasa piece.