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Antique Japanese Ivory Netsuke
Snake On Skull
Lucky Charm

Signature: Biji, Circa: early 1900s'

H 1.5 in.(5.5cm), W 1.25 in.(3cm), D 1 in.(2.5cm)

Condition: excellent!

An elegant netsuke of a snake slithers atop the center of a conceptualized skull. The netsuke is smooth and highly polished, carved from fine, close grained ivory, cream white color with surface patina, engraving with sumi on scale of the snake, inlaid dark corals for the eyes, two large himotoshi on the base of the skull. Signed Biji in kanji script. He is an unrecorded artist in our library of reference.

The Skull netsuke, the gruesome image of death, and a heightened awareness of the short duration in life. Which is fundamental in Buddhist teachings. Since such snake on skull netsuke was also considered as a lucky charm in the old Japan, they were particularly popular among samurai(s), gamblers and drifters.

Sold to Private Collection

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