Nobumasa - 5649
Netsuke that depicts a pumpkin (kabocha, 南瓜) on which there is an aubergine (nasu, 茄). The pumpkin stem is bent on itself and serves as himotoshi. At the base of the two vegetables, on a rectangular reserve, the signature Nobumasa (信正) is engraved.
This type of edible pumpkin, that is different to the hyotan (葫), a gourd with a harder shell and the shape of a bottle, therefore used in ancient Japan as a container for liquids, was often represented in netsuke.
Nobumasa, artist active around the mid 19th century, worked mainly in wood that he then tinted; he loved to represent vegetables and animals.
To see a netsuke from the Lanfranchi collection, that has hyotan as subject, see the piece by Shunzan.