Welcome to Rosemary Bandini Japanese Art
Happy New Year of the Rat
The first animal of the Asian zodiac, the rat earned his place in the roster by winning a race to reach the Jade Emperor. It did so by persuading the ox to give it a ride across the river, allowing the rodent to jump down as soon as it reach the far bank and run to the finish line first. In accordance with this legend, the rat is considered clever and its ability to reproduce in great numbers also give it a felicitous association with wealth.
This netsuke by Ryusansai Issan shows a compact ball of five rats scrambling over each other, but the lucky creature shown to the right has already bagged the prize. He holds a juicy chestnut between his paws. Not a great deal is known about this carver. He carved in wood, his animals having horn-inlaid eyes and his signature usually written within a reserve. His work has been previously confused with that of Hidari Issan.
Specialising in antique Japanese 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, Rosemary worked on the preparation of exhibition catalogues until 1996, subsequently organizing two further exhibitions for Eskenazi. Read more.