Doraku - Kneeling drunks netsuke
Osaka, circa 1850
Two kneeling drunks, slump against each other as they lock themselves in a sumo-like struggle. They are clad only in their fundoshi, that serve as mawashi (the sumo wrestler’s loincloth belt) and their tonsured hair is drawn up into knotted mage. Each has a stubble stippled chin and their hairy limbs are enhanced with light sumi-e stain. Their left hands have both secured a belt grip, but one has also clinched his opponent’s neck in a headlock, the unfortunate underdog grimacing at his predicament. The overwhelming impression, though, is that neither really has the strength to bring their competition to a conclusion, their rather skinny bodies betraying an alcohol-induced lassitude.
Signed within a wavy oval reserve: Doraku
Width: 3.7 cm
Bandini, Rosemary, Expressions of Style, Netsuke as Art, Scholten Japanese Art, New York, 2001, p.27, no.25
Bandini, Rosemary, Tiny Titans, 2006, p 58, no.67