Carved tea wood in the ittobori saishiki style and painted in polychrome. This doll-like tea picker is imbued with charms of a farm girl in the 19th century feudal Japan. The light wood has since darkened into an earth tone patina, tinting much of the once vibrant colors with a sepia brown.
The carver 牛加 is identified by his style and kakihan on the base (Netsuke Handbook of Ueda Rekichi, page 227, moshi 28).
The netsuke is 35 mm high, 26 mm wide and has a thickness of 26 mm. It weighs 8 grams.
The carver is Gyuka (牛加) and the estimated date of production is around 1950.
According to an unusually detailed record in The Netsuke Handbook Gyuka was born in 1801, entered the Mitsu-ji Monastery early on, and served as a family priest for an imperial family. Later he resigned from the priesthood to become a painter, and appointed by the shogun to be the successor of the tea master Kamibayashi of Uji. In 1843, The Lord of Ise and magistrate of Kyoto requested Gyuka to create a souvenir of Uji, Gyuka carved from seasoned tea wood a doll netsuke tea picker and presented it to the shogun. Thereafter several daimyo requested the same subject for them; and so forth the descendent of the Gyuka family became known as the makers Uji dolls.
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