Edo period, 18th century

 

Elegantly carved with swirls to the beard and bottom of the dress. A pointedly humorous netsuke showing a forcefully laughing, bearded Dutchman. The very expressive face makes this netsuke stand out; the eyes are closed, the mouth wide open with visible teeth lets out a contagious laugh. His hairstyle is convoluted in a parodying manner as is his beard, the seam of his coat and his shoes. On his back, the Dutchman is carrying a lantern attached to the ropes he is holding. To the lantern are attached two squiggled decorative elements. Restorations to one of the decorative elements, to one lock of his hair, to two volutes at the seam of the coat and to a thin section of his back including one of the himotoshi.

 

H. 10 cm
 

This netsuke shows that the Dutch were not the only foreigners in Japan. Also the Chinese could trade with the isolated archipelago and were just as interesting to the carvers as the Dutch, resulting in a mix of Dutch and Chinese characteristics.

 

Highly refined Netsuke of a Dutchman holding a Lantern

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