Tokyo, circa 1860

Unsigned netsuke

An ivory netsuke of a ningyo and octopus. She curls her fishy tail around her companion and gazes amorously at him as his tentacles entwine her. Her hair falls down her back and is knotted loosely by the himotoshi, a hair-comb slipping casually from her head. The scene is one of contentment, the octopus still wide-eyed at his good fortune, while the mermaid’s flowing locks and long-fingered hands accentuate her knowingly seductive intentions.

Length: 6.7cm