Boy with Dog - 5431

Shunkosai - Japan

Boy with Dog
mid 19th century
5,0x3,0x2,7 cm
春光斉 (Shunkosai)
2005 bequest Maria Taglietti Lanfranchi
Inv. 5431

This netsuke represents a child, depicted along with a dog, that is making the gesture of bekanko (mocking expression that is said to be a corruption of me akou, "eye is red"), which consists of pulling down the lower eyelid with a finger to expose the red underside towards someone. The child hides a fruit skewer behind himself, while the dog looks curiously and hungry. The two holes of the himotoshi are on the back, near the base, one slightly higher than the other. Between the two holes is engraved the signature Shunkosai (春光 斉). The piece is delicately sculptured and has an excellent patina.

We do not have biographical information about Shunkosai. From his work analysis we can deduce that this artist, active in mid-nineteenth century, was specialized in wood carving, sometimes enriched with ivory inserts, and that he preferred to depict figural groups. Among his subjects, there is at least one other model that is similar to this one in the Lanfranchi collection.