This is of a size that I call "decorative netsuke". Its small, its not true netsuke, and its only meant to be a decorative item. This would have originally been displayed on a "wall board". Appears to be Yew wood, done in a traditional Ichii-itto-bori Technique to highlight the rich grains. Ichii-itto-bori carving is a woodcraft technique that involves carving yew wood using only chisels, and was developed by a netsuke master, Matsuda Sukenaga.Matsuda was from the Hida region of Japan. Ichii-itto carving is characterized by a fine grain, due to the growth rings of the yew tree which are very fine. The wood is left uncolored in order to highlight this grain; Ichii-itto carving was designated a traditional craft in Japan in 1975.
Probably circa 1960s, given the fine carving and attention to details, and general appearance of the aged shellac. Exceptional details, and attention to detail. While this piece was always intended to be decorative, it was carved by a master carver and is a very fine example of these and to that end, increasing a rare find. The character depicted is Okame...
Often depicted with a cat. Okame; also known as Uzume or Otafuku is the name for the female counterpart of a traditional Japanese Kyogen theater pair. She is considered to be the goddess of mirth and is frequently seen in Japanese art. Her full cheeks and merry eyes are an unforgettable sight and a delight to behold.
Some Japanese scholars theorize that long ago, when the first Okame masks were created, they may have represented an idealized form of feminine beauty. Styles and tastes are subject to change, and the ancient Japanese might be surprised to learn that the name Okame is today sometimes used as a less-than-appreciated joking taunt by Japanese husbands. In contrast, a famous and contemporary Japanese Kyogen actor once commented that the countenance of Okame is what every man hopes his bride will look like on his wedding night.
Please excuse the shine, from the camera, this is not as pronounced in person. Some of my masks from my collection are posted.
Check out my other items. The item "Ichii-itto-bori, Fine, Japanese Decorative Netsuke Mask (Mennetsuke) Okame" is in sale since Friday, September 18, 2015.
This item is in the category "Antiques\Asian Antiques\Japan\Netsuke". The seller is "maskmonger" and is located in Freeport, Maine. This item can be shipped worldwide.