Isshosai Kokoku - 5452
In this netsuke, among the various characters, it is possible to recognize Fukurokuju (one of the Seven Gods of Good Fortune), holding a fan, whose big head is hugged by a blind man; another figure is rowing with the handle of a broom; at the centre there is a lady (but it could be Benten, the only female character in the group of the Seven Gods of Good Fortune) who carries on her shoulders a large leaf. In front of her stands a samurai with swords by his side, then a demon (oni, 鬼) holding a scroll on which are engraved two ideograms; in front of him is a pumpkin flask and a catfish and on the other side a drum decorated with the motif of the "three commas" (mitsu tomoe). The piece is signed Isshosai Kokoku (一松齋 光谷) in the vicinity of the himotoshi holes.
There is no bibliographic information about Isshosai Kokoku, an artist active in the second half of the nineteenth century who worked mainly with ivory and whose favourite subjects were groups of figures, in particular the Seven Gods of Fortune often represented on board of a vessel.