Early Meiji Period horn netsuke. Noh Mask of Hannya


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Early Meiji Period Horn netsuke. Noh mask of Hannya.

This exceptionally rare netsuke is carved from horn. It may be of the Edo Period, though I believe it may just enter that of the Meiji (1868-1912). It depicts a Noh theatre mask showing the Demon Hannya, who possesses the souls of women overcome by jealousy or obsession. The Hannya mask comes in three forms, the lightest shows a woman of aristocratic status, a red mask a woman of low class or as in this case, the darkest mask shows the true Demon. This is a remarkably rare netsuke as very few were carved in horn and many of those offered as “pressed” horn are in fact, a form of plastic or celluloid. This netsuke is signed to the reverse, though I have been unable to identify the carver.

This superb netsuke is 5.7cm long and 3.5cm at its widest point. (Measurements approximate). It is in excellent condition, showing light wear appropriate to its age and substance. It has no damage and no restoration.