Rosemary Bandini Japanese Art

Welcome to Rosemary Bandini Japanese Art. As well as providing online access to my latest netsuke, inro and sagemono catalogues, this site also features a selection of netsuke, inro, sagemono and kiseruzutsu from my stock, published books and catalogues for sale, updates on upcoming netsuke exhibitions, news and calendar events in the netsuke world in general.


A sashi-netsuke by Kokusai

Obi hasami by Kokusai

A slender, smooth-bodied dragon wraps it self around the cap of a reishi fungus. The elongated snout coils in towards its gaping mouth, while its rear leg and tail curl to form almost a mirror image, creating a mokugyo-like shape. The archaic rain dragon is totemic in Kokusai’s designs and appears repeatedly in his work. Paul Moss’s major study, Kokusai the Genius, published in 2016, shows four reishi-shaped works that echo this particular design, (nos. 316-319). The base of the stem of each is pierced with an (inome) boar’s eye, emblematic of unflinching courage.

This auspicious plant, symbolising long life, grows with a naturally short stem, but under certain conditions this can lengthen, and is referred to as an ‘antler’ reishi. Kokusai, quite appropriately, exploits the natural shape of a stag antler to fashion reishi obi-hasami, sashi and full-sized sceptres. In this example he has created an extra expression of his characteristic wit – the design also suggests an hallucinogenic face with vortex eyes.

The raised signature: Kokusai, is carved against a hatched background within an elliptical reserve.
Length: 21cms.
Circa 1860-1880

Rosemary Bandini Catalogue 2017

A fully illustrated catalogue to accompany the collection is available now

Specialising in antique netsuke and inro, Rosemary Bandini started her career in the Japanese department of Sotheby’s in 1977, before marrying Luigi Bandini of Eskenazi Ltd. With him she worked on the preparation of exhibition catalogues until 1996, subsequently organizing two further exhibitions for Eskenazi. Read more.

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