Giappone, II half 19th century - 5388

Not signed, Japan

Fukusuke and a Bowl with Two Goldfishes
II half 19th century
legno laccato  
5,0x6,0x3,6 cm
2005 bequest Maria Taglietti Lanfranchi
Inv. 5388



The okimono,  decorated with grey, red and gold lacquer, depicts a child standing with his left hand resting on the edge of a large bowl with two goldfishes swimming inside. His robe is adorned with motifs of fans, floral spirals and waves. On one of the fans there is a golden ideogram, 寿 "kotobuki" written in cursive style, whose meaning is an omen of "longevity". The outside of the bowl is decorated with waves over wich three boats that carry bundles of herbs and flower corolla are visible. The child could be identified as Fukusuke (literally "good luck"), a type of doll that represents a chubby child with a very big head. It was believed that this type of doll were a talisman and that it would bring prosperity to the family that exposed it.

There are other examples that are stylistically similar to this piece, but the fish tank seems to have never been seen before. It is a type of object that is datable to the second half of the nineteenth century, more likely produced in a lacquerers workshop rather than in a netsukeshi one.
 

G.R.