Seal with Shishi - 5633
This netsuke is a multiple seal, composed by a series of five modules, four of which are oval, placed in two couples one on top of the other. The fifth module is shaped like a pumpkin (hyotan, 葫) and is used as a pedestal for a small shishi that is depicted with the front paw placed on a sphere and its jaws painted in red.
On one of the five faces of the netsuke the word fortune (fuku, 福) is engraved while the other inscriptions could correspond to the names of famous painters or calligraphers. The himotoshi
is natural and is obtained by the space between the different modules.
Similar compositions, ascribed to the Edo school, were very popular in Japan in the mid 19th century. Other pieces with a similar style can be found in various museums, including the British Museum in London.
Information on the shishi can be found in the description of another piece form the Lanfranchi collection in which there are two of these mythological animals.