Gyokuzan - 5473
This okimono depicts a farmer with a hat while working in a field of pumpkins (hyotan, 葫) partially climbing over a fence; near the man's feet lays the basket that will contain the vegetables. A purse is hanging at his belt (obi, 帯). Under the base of the composition the signature Gyokuzan (玉山) is carved.
This miniature sculpture, no longer bound to the netsuke functionality, is a typical work made between the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century to comply with the growing market demand for export. The Victorian taste admired particularly intricate and realistic compositions, from which could emerge at a maximum the Japanese artistic skill.
Many are the carvers that used the art name Gyokuzan during the Meiji period (1868-1912). No biographical information is available about the author of our okimono, however by means of the style of his signature it is possible to identify several of his works, among which is another okimono, part of the Lanfranchi collection, where an oni is shining two huge shoes.