Miwa - 5444
This netsuke of large size portrays a man, bare chested and with a protruding belly, while he stretches his arms to lift up a rice bale; at his waist is laced an apron that covers his pelvis and one leg down to the foot. There are no himotoshi, but the cord can pass through a few spaces in the composition, such as the one between the legs. On the sole of the left foot the signature Miwa is carved.
Miwa is a famous netsukeshi active during the second half of the eighteenth century, made netsuke in wood, and is considered the founder of the Edo (Tokyo) style. However there are several types of models carrying the signature Miwa, often with the addition of other names. Among them the most common motifs are daily life representations. This leads to believe that his name must actually be given to a large workshop where many carvers worked.
With reference to our piece of the Lanfranchi collection, even if it cannot be attributed to the workshop's founder, it nevertheless seems to be datable between the end of the 18th and the early 19th century.