Hidari Issan (1804-1857)

Iwashiro, circa 1840

A smooth dragon coils its body back on itself in irregular loops and clutches a sacred tama (jewel) in it left foreclaw. The underside is reticulated and its head pulled back in a defensive pose. The glaring eyes are inlaid in bone with metal rimmed dark horn pupils.

Western netsuke books frequently attest that the name ‘Hidari’ – meaning left – indicates that the artist was left-handed. It has however been suggested that another explanation might be a reference to the legendary late 16th-early 17th century sculptor Hidari Jingoro.

Signed in a smooth reserve: Hidari Issan
Width: 4.2cm

Signature Hidari Issan
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