Fox actor, Kokusai and Shuraku

Unsigned; attributed to Kokusai, with Shūraku

Tokyo, mid to late 19th century, circa 1860-1880s.

Diameter: 4.2 cm. (1 6 in.)

Sydney L. Moss Ltd., “Eccentrics in Netsuke”, 1982, no. 87.

Moss Ltd., “Kokusai The Genius (vol. II)”, 2016, no. 176.

A stag-antler kagamibuta bowl engraved around the circular body with deeply carved and stained reishi head or cloud designs, the mixed metal plate cleverly worked with a design of a kitsune actor on stage, with silver inlaid mask and gold rope pull. The metalwork is engraved with the semicursive signature: Shūraku, with kaō; the bowl unsigned.

For a kagamibuta by Ryūmin of the same subject, much more ornately worked in a Kokusai bowl of flowers and leaves design, see Lazarnick, NIA..., p. 895. Ozawa Shūraku (died 1894) and Serizawa Ryūmin (born 1826, sometimes described as a metalworker of the Kikuoka school) were pupils of the great Shōjō-ō Temmin; Shūraku was Temmin’s son.