Sangetsu - wasp and pear netsuke

Nagoya, circa 1850

A classic depiction of a large wasp feasting on a rotting nashi pear. The insect rests inside the decaying cavity, engrossed in its task. The fruit’s skin, finely spotted in ukibori, has begun to curl inwards as the flesh is eaten away. The himotoshi are banded with rings carved in the wood.

Signed in a gourd-shaped cartouche: Sangetsu
Length: 4.8cm

Bushell, in his book Collectors’ Netsuke, dedicates a space to a discussion of the ‘wasp carvers’ (pp.83-84), noting that their work shares several similarities, but that the district these carvers worked in is unrecorded.

Lazarnick, G., MCI, New York, 1986, p. 691 (There are very close similarities in such carvings, but a study of the details seem to indicate that this is the piece illustrated).

Signature Sangetsu