Hayakawa Shokosai III
Osaka, dated 1919
A bamboo netsuke of natural ring form. The somewhat esoteric carving is created using the joint of a bamboo root known as hidake, prized for its rarity, it grows showing the root above ground and here forms a perfect circle. Its shape could represent an enso, the Zen Buddhist circle of Perfect Wisdom.
Signed in seal form: Shokosai
A silk wrapping cloth is painted with a floral design and inscribed by Shokosai III:
“Nyoi jizai Taisho tsuchinoto-hitsuji banshu, Shokosai ga [“Exactly as you wish”, late autumn of tsuchinoto-hitsuji of the Taisho period (Taisho 8th = 1919), painted by Shokosai] 如意自在、大正己未晩秋、尚古斎画
The accompanying box with hakogaki reading: “Fushi hidake, netsuke, Taisho tsuchinoto-hitsuji shujitsu, sansei Shokosai zo, with seal: Shokosai” [This netsuke was made by using the joint of the root of bamboo (known as hidake in Japanese), an autumn day in the tsuchinoto-hitsuji year of the Taisho period (Taisho 8th = 1919) Shokosai III] 節樋竹、根付。大正己未秋日。三世、尚古斎造。印：尚古斎。
The hidake is often used to craft futaoki (lid rests) and chashaku (powdered tea scoops) used in tea ceremony and it is likely that this netsuke was made for a tea ceremony practitioner.