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Happy Year of the Ox

 2021 heralds the Year of the Metal Ox and people born under this zodiac sign are admired for their reliability and steadfastness, even if they can sometimes appear stubborn and may occasionally let their firmly held views get the better of them. Slow and steady seems to be the way we have to confront the challenges of the world at this time, so lets hope it augurs well.

Netsuke of warrior brigand Kidomaru by Ikkokusai Toun

The netsuke shown here, from my archives, shows the warrior brigand Kidomaru peering out from under an ox skin as he lies in wait to ambush and kill his sworn enemy, Minamoto no Yorimitsu. His desire for vengeance arose from the occasion when Yorimitsu’s men had captured, beaten him and bound him in chains – an ordeal from which he had managed to escape. Learning that Yorimitsu would pass by, he was said to have killed a large ox with a stone and then disemboweled it in order to use the hide as his disguise.

Netsuke of warrior brigand Kidomaru by Ikkokusai Toun

However Yorimitsu’s retainers learned of his plan and he was killed with a single arrow through the ox’s hide. Carved by Ikkokusai Toun, this is probably his masterpiece.

Rosemary Bandini Japanese Netsuke Catalogue 2019

The latest fully illustrated catalogue – Japanese netsuke and Sagemono (Summer 2020) – is available

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.

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