Ryukei - bone netsuke of hollow cylindrical hanaike

Edo (Tokyo), circa 1850

A green-stained bone netsuke of hollow cylindrical hanaike form with a deeply cut design of a cricket. It rests with its wings closed and delicate antennae sweeping back over it. The eye is inlaid in pale horn and a second cricket is inlaid in brown horn on the reverse. A small peg on the side forms the himotoshi, the cord threaded inside the cylinder.

Winged crickets enjoyed much popularity in Japan, where they were kept in small cages to provide music during the warm summer evenings. Some, such as the suzumushi producing a delicate bell-like chime.

Meinertzhagen’s card index records this as “A fine little netsuke, the stain of a beautiful rich green color (sic). Sold Mrs Althusen, Sept. 20th 1930, for £2.10s.”

Signed: Ryukei with kao
Height: 3.5cm

Provenance:
W.L. Behrens collection
Mrs Althusen collection
Published:
Lazarnick, G., MCI, New York, 1986, p.675

Signature Ryukei