Arita Tiger - 5684
The netsuke represents a tiger (tora, 虎): the four paws are very close to each other, so that its back is extremely bent over. The piece is made of porcelain, coloured in grey-blue, black, red and gold. The holes of the himotoshi
are on the back side of the animal.
There are other similar pieces, covered by a different type of glazed porcelain, ascribed to the Arita school around the 19th century.
The tiger is the third animal of the zodiac. It symbolises the month of January and the time between 3 a.m.and 4 a.m. According to Eastern tradition the tiger is the strongest terrestrial power and symbolizes protection towards human beings since it keeps away three disasters: thieves, fire and ghosts.
In the Lanfranchi collection there is another netsuke whose subject is a tiger, and it depicts a tiger on a branch of bamboo. Another example of animal made of porcelain is a Monkey and the horse by Masakazu.