Kakushu - 5728

Kakushu - Japan

Hotei Playing a Ban-Sugoroku Game in a Bag
mid 19th century
3,5x4,0x3,8 cm
覚秀 (Kakushu)
2005 bequest Maria Taglietti Lanfranchi
Inv. 5728

Apparently the piece – carved in three parts in isu wood (destylum racemosum) – simply represents a bag closed by a knot in its upper part; actually, inside there is a figure group with Hotei and a karako sitting in front of a board playing ban-sugoroku (盤 双六), a sort of a backgammon game; the divinity holds a jar with dice in his right hand; the white draughtsmen are ivory carvings. A himotoshi rimmed in ivory is placed at the base of the netsuke; nearby is carved the signature Kakushu.

The first specimens of this subject date back to the end of the 18th century by Myogawa Seishichi an artist from Osaka. However it must be noticed that similar trick netsuke were produced also in later times. There is little information about Kakushu, who probably worked around the middle of 19th century.

G. R.