The horse stained and carved with detail, emerging from a gourd, with amber inlaid eyes and a nice patina, signed.
L. approx. 3.5 cm
Private collection, United Kingdom
With us, pre-2021
In Japanese art, the horse appears in many different forms taken from Chinese and Japanese myths and legends. One of the most famous legends is the story of the Chinese sennin Chokaro. This immortal being owns a horse that he can magically conjure up when necessary from a gourd. This horse carries him far and wide. The Japanese expression hyotan kara koma, “a horse in the gourd,” refers to this particular story. The expression reminds us that in life the unexpected can happen.
This netsuke therefore can be worn or carried as a talisman, keeping the owner alert that unexpected things can happen and nothing is impossible.