Mitsunaga Toyokawa II - shakudo metal netsuke
A shakudo metal netsuke of a hyotokko mask, details in shibuichi, the reverse in gold. There are various myths associated with the origins of this comic character. In Iwate prefecture folklore records a boy with a twisted face who could produce gold from his navel and his effigy would be placed over the fireplace following a death, to bring good fortune to the household. Equally, a tradition in the north-east of Japan has a dancer in the guise of a fisherman with a hyottoko mask performing with a bamboo basket, at one point placing a 5-yen coin on his nose. In the spirit of these two folk legends, the gold backing of the mask gains further significance.
With hakogaki, the top signed: Senkoku netsuke, Hyottoko zu [carved netsuke with an image of Hyottoko]鐫刻、飄男圖 The inside of the lid signed: Hakuzanshi (Hakusanshi) and Mitsunaga with two seals “Kizan to” and “Mitsunaga”白山子、光長、印：喜山刀、光長The Hakuzanshi (Hakusanshi) literally means “White Mountain Man” and is an art name of Toyokawa Mitsunaga II.
Signed on the netsuke: Mitsunaga 光長