This is a beautiful and intrinsic sumo wrestlers (rikishi) netsuke that is crafted from pure mammoth ivory. Notice the well-chiseled muscles and bulging fat. Considered to be a traditional wrestling art and is the national sport of Japan, the roots of Sumo wrestling lay deep into the rich cultural heritage of the country.

Sumo wrestler netsuke

Look how creatively the Master Carver has styled the hair, with each strand carefully etched and hand painted in black, yet giving it the well-oiled luster. Notice the grip on each other as they are locked in an embrace while wrestling. See the frowns on their forehead which is a sign of using intense muscle power to keep a hold on the opponent. Sumo wrestling is a play of muscle power and weight which can be aptly seen in this netsuke.

The Master Carver has managed to grasp the basic nuances of the sport and it can be seen in the way it has been carved. See how one of the Sumo wrestlers is holding on to the belt of the other wrestler. See the broad eyebrows, frown on the forehead, half open mouth and some teeth which can be seen easily. See how the artist has been able to carve the wrestlers in their natural poses with considerable skill. The other wrestler has just put him in the hold and has one hand under the arm, holding on tight as seen from the pressed fingers and fold of the skin of the wrestler in hold.

Don’t miss the two holes on the side of the folded leg of the Sumo wrestlers. This is a trademark of a netsuke, as they were beaded accessories used on kimonos as a toggle. However, with time and change of dressing style, they are prized art pieces valued by art connoisseurs’ world over.

Mammoth ivory TUSKS are absolutely legal worldwide. You can read more about Mammoth Ivory in our education Center.

Size of Legal Mammoth Ivory netsuke:

Centimeters      Inches      Height
19                          7.5

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