Doraku - Kneeling drunks netsuke

Osaka, circa 1850

Doraku netsuke of two kneeling drunks

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.

Doraku netsuke of two kneeling drunks
Doraku netsuke of two kneeling drunks
Doraku netsuke of two kneeling drunks
Doraku netsuke of two kneeling drunks
Doraku netsuke of two kneeling drunks

Signed within a wavy oval reserve: Doraku
Width: 3.7 cm

Provenance:
Karl-Ludwig Kley
Published:
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