Japanese Works of Art


Hida, circa 1860

A wood okimono of a toad, squatting in a magisterial pose, its limbs flexed for action, the front legs braced and feet turned inwards. The double-inlaid eyes appear at once impassive and stern. Sukenao was the most accomplished of Sukenaga’s pupils and this carving seems to pulse with life, capturing the essence of the reptile. Careful old repairs to the toes. L:12.4 x W:10.8 x H: 5.3 cm.  Signed: ヒタ、亮直造 Hida, Sukenao zo [Made by Sukenao, Hida]

The word Hida of Hida-Takayama region is written in the katakana script – Hita ヒタand it means Hida ヒダ (飛騨 in the Kanji characters)

With hakogaki, the top of the lid inscribed: 蟇、床飾、亮直作 “Gama, tokokazari, Sukenao saku” [Toad, an alcove display object, made by Sukenao]. The inner side: Hakogaki (back): 飛騨高山、亮長門弟子、亮直刀 “Hida Takayama, Sukenaga mon deshi, Sukenao to” [Carved by Sukenao, a disciple of the Sukenaga school, Hida, Takayama]

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