Masakazu - 5688
Netsuke made in a cream coloured glazed porcelain, depicting Hotei (one of the Seven Gods of Fortune) sitting with his prominent naked belly, and smiling happily. In his right hand he holds a stiff fan (uchiwa, 団扇) while leaning on his sack set aside. The two holes of the himotoshi, one larger than the other, are on the base of the piece close to the signature Masakazu (正一).
This artwork is by an anonymous artisan specialized in making porcelain netsuke , active in the 19th century. This Masakazu worked in one of the numerous furnaces present in the island of Hirado (province of Hizen), where, since the 17th century, porcelains of great value were produced .
It has been hypothesized that these kind of netsuke are in fact replicas of originals in ivory made by Masakazu, a netsukeshi active in Kyoto by the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century. In the Lanfranchi collection there is another piece by the same artist that has as subject a monkey and a horse.