Hideharu was an artist with a very recognisable style, who also limited himself to a handful of successful subjects. Kappa, Fishergirl or a combination of these two are recorded and are synonymous with Hideharu. Less frequent are his snails, either as a single carving or as a cluster they were his most successful Netsuke, in our experience consistently fine. Our Bamboo shoot inlaid with a spade and straw hat containing other bamboo shoots identify the subject as Muso, one of the 24 paragons of filial devotion. Never observing this subject before by Hideharu, nor the blending of material, refreshes ones opinion of an artist that perhaps prior you might have assessed as repetitive, but capable. In addition the beautiful ukibori technique on the underside reinvigorates the perspective we have of the artist. If he’d only left behind works of this calibre, coupled with his snails, which even Ganbun admired and took to embellishing I think Hideharu would be more cherished, but after all he was human and needed to earn a living, a fact we as critiques fail to remember far too often.
Nagoya. Last half of the 19th Century.