Yoshimoto Nisai - seated monkey netsuke

Tokyo/Kyoto, circa 1915

A seated monkey sits clutching a plump peach in one hand, the other resting on his knee. His head is slightly inclined and his eyes are cast upwards in a butter-wouldn’t-melt-in-his mouth attitude. The effect is rather comical, as if the monkey were taunting one of his less-lucky fellow simians. The Japanese expression ‘saru no kaki warai’ alludes to a monkey’s mocking laugh. In Collectors’ Netsuke Bushell makes note of the sense of absurdity in Nisai’s work. The jacket and peach are lacquered in red and the eyes are inlaid in dark horn.

Signed: Nisai
Height: 4.6cm

Ueda Reikichi records that Nisai used yanagi (willow) for his carvings.

Signature Yoshimoto Nisai