Tomonobu - 5506

Tomonobu, Edo/Tokyo school

Kan'u and Chohi
Tomochika workshop, late 19th century
ivory  
7,0x5,0x2,3 cm
signature
江陽齋 友信 (Koyosai Tomonobu)
2005 bequest Maria Taglietti Lanfranchi
Inv. 5506



Kan'u  and Chohi are, along with Chō-Un,  the three main characters of the "Romance of the Three Kingdoms", a Chinese work of the fourteenth century that was very popular in Japan during the Edo period (1615-1868). In this netsuke Kan'u is represented with a serious appearance,  a halberd, while he makes the gesture of touching his beard; he wears a headdress with a fabric pendant on top of which is placed an emblem depicting the moon. Chohi is distinguished by his ferocious appearance, the ax and a short beard. The himotoshi and signature Kyokusai Tomonobu are on the back of the garment worn by Chohi.

Tomonobu, active in Edo around the nineteenth century, was the author of netsuke in the style of Tomochika. Sometimes, as in this case, he added the art name Koyosai. This piece from the Lanfranchi collection is remarkable for the fineness of details: the meticulous workmanship is especially noticeable in the plasticity and realism of tissues' movement, in clothes' decoration, which alternates engravings and  effects obtained thanks to ink-staining of high and low relief. The ivory has taken on a patina that gives a pleasant shade of deep yellow, especially on the back of the two figures.

The Lanfranchi collection has various pieces of the school Tomochika.

G.R.

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