Masanao - crawling baby netsuke
Yamada, circa 1860
A plump baby boy crawls along on his stomach, pausing his progress briefly to glance to one side with a contented expression. He is clad in a simple bib, tied at his neck and waist, and decorated with an interlocking turtle shell design. The hexagonal shape is a popular motif, referencing the Black Turtle of the North, one of the four celestial beings, emblematic of long life. The eye pupils are inlaid in dark horn.