Tomotada - 5735
The netsuke depicts Hotei with a large dress tightened at the waist by a lace and open to show the chest and the large belly. He holds a rigid fan (uchiwa, 団扇) in his hand, while a "Chinese boy" (karako, 唐子) has climbed his left shoulder. Hotei has a chubby face and a smiling expression; he has a bold forehead, a sparse beard, and the ear's lobes are rather elongated. The two himotoshi holes, one larger then the other one, are on the rear, on the right side, at pelvis height. Near the holes, below the sash, the signature Tomotada (友忠) inside a rectangular reserve is carved.
Tomotada was a carver of the Kyōto school active around the end of the 18th century. It is considered one of the most important artists of netsuke history. His favourite subjects were animals, above all recumbent oxen, which were already frequently imitated when he was alive. Very few figural groups are attributed to Tomotada. This netsuke, rather expressive, has stylistic features similar to those of other Kyōto area artists and can be dated between the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century.
The Lanfranchi collection owns other netsuke of the Kyoto school artists such as Okatomo and Okanobu.