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Japanese Netsuke Mask Carver By Banryusai


£3,500 | $4,160 USD | €4,017 EUR
Item Number: SA899467
Date of manufacture: 19th Century
Current Status: For sale
Seller: Nio Antiques
This antique has been viewed 32 times in the past month with the most views from the United States.


An expert mask carver sits cross legged, holding in his hand a theatrical mask, which he has been roughing out. The effort is now at the detail stage and the carver distorts his face while peering down at his results. It is as if the mask was a mirror, and he was attempting, to get a feel for rendering his own face within his work. The kimono he is wearing is voluminous, covering the trunk of his body, his right sleeve he has rolled up his arm so not to impede the movement he requires for carving, exposing taught musculature. His hakama envelopes his legs. There are distinct elements of the composition, his head and face, the exposed arms which are spirited in detail. The angular nature of his clothing, and also the mask he carves. These are variances, that are difficult to marry together in the confines of a sculpture in minutia. Though I for one, enjoy immensely the effort and result. Large himotoshi (cord channel) have been added to the work, extremely functional, in keeping with the time and place of production.
I have owned three works by this artist. However, he signs with different names, Banryusai (like here), Banryu and Tachibana. The latter signature was on a monumental ‘laying in wait’ Ronnin. Once you have seen one of his Netsuke, you never forget his way. I was very excited to see the piece in a Zacke sale recently, but the excitement was amplified by the presence of kanji that explains the piece was made in Edo. This is extremely rare, one collector who I consulted before buying the piece, after collecting for 50 years had never seen a piece with a mention of Edo the capital. Important, is a word banded around in Netsuke, much of that importance is based on a matter of opinion. Kanji explaining where a piece is made, anywhere, is important, when it mentions Edo, on an early Netsuke, no argument its important!
Signed: Toto Banryusai Kasoko sen kore. Edo. Very early 19th Century.
Ex: Gabor Wilhelm Collection.
Interestingly, this model did become a staple of Edo/Tokyo studios. Though it also became popular in other domains, with regional differences. A Netsuke that I always enjoyed, certainly different than our wood mask carver, but also comparable and perhaps suggestive of cross regional influence. Please see: SL Moss. Zodiac beast and distant cousins. Number 78. By Fukansai Sekiju.
Internal Ref: Carver Banryusai


This item is antique. The date of manufacture has been declared as 19th Century.


Height = 3.9 cm (1.5")
Width = 3.4 cm (1.3")
Depth = 3.2 cm (1.3")

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Nio Antiques
United Kingdom

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