naturalistic carving of an antler sake cup with a twirling rim. Its interior has
been hollowed out into a smooth concave, surfaced with maroon colored lacquer
and gilded gold, in a direct contrast to the carefully preserved antler texture
on the exterior, where a small ring serves as a himotoshi for the cord.
is seldom acknowledged by collectors that the materials of netsuke are often applied
to medical purpose in Japan. One popular ingredient for allaying flu and fever
is the tusk of narwhale. So it is also commonly believed that by ingesting a scrapings
of ivory can retract a thorn or splinter, and a stag antler is used as an aphrodisiac
and antidote for adder bite. In light of its versatility, no doubt this multi-purpose
netsuke was a treasure wore by many of its owners; and yet we see only
minor gilt loss and a small age crack on the rim.