Scuola di Toshitsugu - 5609

not signed, Tokyo School

Octopus on a Bundle of Reeds
Toshitsugu workshop - late 19th, early 20th century
2,0x3,5x2,3 cm
2005 bequest Maria Taglietti Lanfranchi
Inv. 5609

not on display

This simple and lovely ivory netsuke shows an octopus (tako, 蛸) on a bundle of reeds: a typical container in which wase stored the outcome of fisheries such as molluscs, small fishes or the very octopus. In the lower part, near the himotoshi has been inserted a red lacquer plate on which is carved a kakihan  (graphic symbol with which Japanese artists sometimes identified themselves)  without signature.

The red lacquer plate suggests that the piece is by an artist of the Meiji period (1868-1912) although the artistic style, which is not pretentious, seems to contradicts this theory. On the other hand this kakihan is unequivocally the one used by Toshitsugu (利 次), an artist active in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, best known for his elaborate okimono. It can therefore be assumed that this netsuke is a work of the young Toshitsugu or one of his pupils.