Gama Sennin

This netsuke, was carved from a single block of ivory, and depicts Gama Sennin, a Chinese immortal (hsien-jen), who carries a large frog on his shoulder. The netsuke is conceived in the round and carved on all surfaces. One foot, the figure’s left, is chipped; the other foot is raised in a lively manner, as if the sennin were dancing. The figure is thickest at the shoulder, becoming markedly thinner and narrower toward the feet. Moreover, although conceived in the round, there is a slight flattening of the body, especially in the back. The face and head of the figure are carved in high relief, with an open, deeply undercut mouth and broad smile. To enhance the bright expressions of both the sennin and the frog, a dark-colored material, not yet identified, has been inlaid in the eyes. In his right hand, the sennin grasps the foreleg of the frog, while in his left hand he holds a large peach. The details of the costume, a border pattern of short parallel lines and a cloud pattern on the robe itself, are lightly incised. The himotoshi, or cord channel, appears as two conspicuous, connected holes of unequal size on the back of the figure.

On the back of the robe, enclosed in an oblong cartouche, is the incised signature, “Yoshinaga.”

Maker(s)
Artist: Yoshinaga (active late 18th century)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, late 18th century
Medium
Elephant ivory with black inlay
Dimensions
H x W: 7 x 3.5 cm (2 3/4 x 1 3/8 in)
Geography
Japan
Credit Line
Anoymous gift in memory of Dr. Harold P. Stern
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F1980.212
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Jewelry and Ornament
Type

Netsuke

Keywords
carving, Daoist Immortals, Edo period (1615 - 1868), frog, incising, Japan, WWII-era provenance
Provenance
Provenance information is currently unavailable
Description

This netsuke, was carved from a single block of ivory, and depicts Gama Sennin, a Chinese immortal (hsien-jen), who carries a large frog on his shoulder. The netsuke is conceived in the round and carved on all surfaces. One foot, the figure's left, is chipped; the other foot is raised in a lively manner, as if the sennin were dancing. The figure is thickest at the shoulder, becoming markedly thinner and narrower toward the feet. Moreover, although conceived in the round, there is a slight flattening of the body, especially in the back. The face and head of the figure are carved in high relief, with an open, deeply undercut mouth and broad smile. To enhance the bright expressions of both the sennin and the frog, a dark-colored material, not yet identified, has been inlaid in the eyes. In his right hand, the sennin grasps the foreleg of the frog, while in his left hand he holds a large peach. The details of the costume, a border pattern of short parallel lines and a cloud pattern on the robe itself, are lightly incised. The himotoshi, or cord channel, appears as two conspicuous, connected holes of unequal size on the back of the figure.

On the back of the robe, enclosed in an oblong cartouche, is the incised signature, "Yoshinaga."

Inscription(s)

Signed: "Yoshinaga"

Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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