Notice the two small boys enjoying a ride on the tortoise. Handcrafted in mammoth ivory, this exceptionally crafted netsuke depicts an innocent child’s play. Sitting on the broad shell of the tortoise, they are balancing themselves by holding on to the tortoise’s head and the other one is clutching the robe of the boy in front. The happy smiles of the boys and the gentle expression of the tortoise is phenomenal. To be able to carve emotions in ivory talks about the high-caliber of the artist and looking at the miniscule netsuke, the precise strokes, etchings and carving on fragile ivory is painstaking. Notice the tortoise skin, the texture that has been carved into it, giving a realistic look.

See the smooth, polished shell of the tortoise, the turn of the toes and neck. The small boy in front is holding onto the head which is looking to the right. See the tiny fingers of the boy’s hand close to the tortoise’s eye. Look at the bottom of the netsuke, the two inherent netsuke holes are present along with the authenticated signature of the artist. The clear details of the tail and toes of the tortoise have been sculpted in details.

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