Unsigned manju-style netsuke
Asakusa (Tokyo), circa 1870
A stag antler manju-style netsuke of a shishi crouching on a cushion, its body curled. It seems, however, that it has been roused from its rest; one ear is pulled back and its face is set in an expression of barely contained fury at its rude awakening. The facial features of the shishi, the boldly defined spine, the double-lined edge to the paws over the claws and curling mane and tail are all reminiscent of the work of Rensai. The cushion is deeply incised to create a diaper-pattern ground and the himotoshi is incorporated in a large stylised foliate motif.