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Subject:Netsuke ID help
Posted By: Monique Wed, Jun 02, 2021 IP:

I just acquired this item which was identified as a Netsuke. Can anyone help me confirm whether it is authentic and if so, who the artist might be? I'm finding this whole topic fascinating.

Subject:Re: Netsuke ID help
Posted By: Suzume Thu, Jun 03, 2021


I'm afraid I can't quite make out the signature.

What I can tell you about the netsuke is it's about 80-100 years old and made out of ivory. This is what would be called a "tourist piece" I.E. it never actually saw use as a "netsuke" and was purely decorative, intended for western tourists or dealers to sell in Europe and the US.

The subject is an Ainu man (a native people of Japan). I actually haven't seen many netsuke of this subject.

I hope this helps,


Subject:Re: Netsuke ID help
Posted By: Mark Adams Thu, Jun 03, 2021

It's a netsuke but made for the tourist trade.
Note the two holes at the back are of the same size. Authentic netsukes you will always see one larger than the other with signs of wear.
The material is dyed.
Probably mid 20th century.
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Subject:Re: Netsuke ID help
Posted By: Stan Fri, Jun 04, 2021

As Suzume and Mark pointed out, this is a newer netsuke. It was quickly and rather crudely carved. Below are some from our collection. The 3 on the right were purchased at auction in 2005 when the New Orleans Museum of Art deaccessioned them to raise money after Hurricane Katrina. The water buffalo in the foreground has been dated to circa 1930. Note the quality of the work compared to yours. The left one was purchased at an antique store and is newer and not as well executed.

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