Tomin - Chimera netsuke
Tsu, early 19th century
An ebony carving of a chimera, its bear-like body appears quite small compared with its massive head and the limbs are endowed with sharp three-toed claws, reminiscent of an oni’s. The long talons of its right forepaw draw back the long trailing beard and the wide jaw is open to reveal sharp teeth and a protruding tongue. The eyes, inlaid in aogai with black horn pupils, glower from under its sweeping brows.
A similar netsuke of this subject by Tomin is illustrated in Lazarnick’s MCI, p.882, where Meinterzhagen describes it as a “bearded karashishi with frog like face”. Two further examples are known by Kokei, one illustrated in In a Nutshell (Bandini 2013, no. 101, p. 57), another from the Behrens collection illustrated in MCI, p.367 and in Katchen’s Netsuke 7, vol 2.