Shigemitsu - 5660

Shigemitsu - Ōsaka school

Ono no Komachi
mid 19th century
3,2x4,2x1,8 cm
重光 (Shigemitsu)
2005 bequest Maria Taglietti Lanfranchi
Inv. 5660

The netsuke depicts Ono no Komachi in her old age dressed in rags and sitting on a gravestone (sotoba, 卒塔婆).  She is holding on to a bamboo stick, carrying a shoulder bag and a straw hat on her shoulders. A basket with flowers is on her right side, on the left side, next to her feet, there is a skull. The biggest of the two holes of the himotoshi is on the back of the  gravestone, the smaller one is on the bottom side. The signature Shigemitsu (重光) is engraved on the base of the composition in an oval reserve.

The scene is known  as  Sotoba Komachi and is one of the five Noh plays about the stages of Ono no Komachi's  life. The poetess, who was a very beautiful woman when she was young, is thinking  about her past while she is in a Buddhist cemetery, sitting on a fallen  gravestone. This  theme  is  very common in netsuke art, probably it is derived from a print.

Very little information is available about Shigemitsu.  it is  believed that he worked in Osaka around the middle of the 19th century.