Gyokuichi - 5669

Gyokuichi, Edo/Tokyo school (?)

The Soga Brother’s Vengeance
mid 19th century
ivory  
3,1x4,5x4,1 cm
signature
玉一 (Gyokuichi)
2005 bequest Maria Taglietti Lanfranchi
Inv. 5669

not on display


The composition, an okimono-netsuke, is divided in two scenes, separated by a folding screen (tsuitate, 衝立). On one side there is only one character, with the sword by his side and a lamp in his left hand; at his feet there is a basket, on one side a fallen lamp and on the other side an overturned gō board. The other scene depicts a man that holds down his adversary, whose face expresses great suffering.  This is a famous historic episode dating to 1193 in which the Soga (曽我)  brothers avenge the death of their father killed by the cousin Kudo Suketsune and lose their own lives. The himotoshi holes  are at the base of the composition where, close to them, is engraved the signature Gyokuichi (玉一).
 

Pieces with a similar signature  are rare. They depict different subjects: from groups of people to animals. Probably Gyokuichi was an artist active in Edo/Tokyo around the mid 19th century and worked mainly in ivory.
 A second composition signed Gyokuichi but made by a different artist is present in the Lanfranchi collection.
 

G.R.

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