Fine Meiji Period wood netsuke showing a Ferry boat by Masatami


A fine Meiji Period hand carved wooden netsuke showing a Ferry boat by Masatami.

This superb netsuke was carved by Masatami in the late nineteenth century. Masatami was internationally famous in his own lifetime for his depictions of monkeys and this subject is an unusual one for him. It shows a Japanese Ferry boat. In Feudal Japan, various groups had very little to do with one another, until that is, it came to crossing a river by Ferry when they were all forced together. It is likely from this circumstance that we gain the saying “All in the same boat”. The group in this boat are disparate, a wealthy merchant, a Samurai warrior and a poor monkey trainer, or Sarumawashi and his monkey, who peers over the sde of the boat at his own reflection in the water. The boat is carved beautifully, even showing the beginnings of rot on the underside. The netsuke bears the signature of Masatami in a stylised version on the stern.

This stunning and exceptionally rare netsuke is 5.5 cm long, 2.5 cm at its widest point and stands 2.75 cm high. (Measurements approximate). It is in excellent condition, showing only light wear appropriate to its age and substance. It has an excellent colour, no damage and no restoration.