Ono Ryomin - 5466
With a skilfull move, a man blocks with his body a thieve to the ground pressing his right shoulder and pulling his head with a headscarf that, because of the strength with which it has been stretched, is by the time frayed. The two himotoshi holes are placed on the lower side of the composition, where also the signature Ono Ryomin (小埜 陵民) is placed, with the addition of his typical kakihan.
It is a depiction of the proverb "dorogawa", that ridicules he who forgets or does not succeed in doing something, and reacts at the last moment when it is probably too late.
Ryomin, whose family name Ono (小埜 or 小野, small field) was often associated to his art name, as in this netsuke, was active in Edo/Tokyo during the second half of the 19th century. Around 1880 he was head of a large workshop located at Mukojima, on the left bank of Sumida river, that produced ivory netsuke and okimono mainly for export. Many of his pupils incorporated the characters "ono" and "ryo" in their art names, as it is witnessed by various carvings present in the Lanfranchi collection. Among pieces with signature Ono Ryomin collected by Lanfranchi there is an okimono having as subject four blind men fighting and another netsuke of a dancing fox, simply signed Ryomin.