Hidari Issan (1804-1857)

Iwashiro, circa 1840

A remarkably detailed cherry wood model of a dried salmon, cut in half with the tail laid under the head. The desiccated skin is minutely carved, the bones of the body and tail clearly defined under its thin covering, while the mouth shrinks back to reveal it teeth. The smooth cut separating the two sections is carefully detailed with the inlaid spinal column and traces of red stain. The eye is double-inlaid in shell and dark horn.

Signed on a raised elliptical reserve: Hidari Issan
Length: 5.6cm

Meinertzhagen’s card index records his comments on this piece: “A masterpiece by this artist of most exquisite workmanship and remarkable individuality, it’s astonishing realism showing real artistic inspiration”.

Provenance:
W.W. Winkworth collection
M.T. Hindson collection
Martin S. Newstead collection
Published:
Hurtig, B. Masterpieces of Netsuke Art, Tokyo and New York, 1973, p. 152, pl. 611
Davey, N.K., Netsuke, revised edition 1982, p. 259, pl. 800
Sotheby’s London, The Martin S. Newstead Collection of Netsuke, 24th October 1984, lot 93
exhibited:
Museum für Ostasiatsche Kunst, 1982-3. Catalogue no. K2 page 96

Signature Hidari Issan