A large wood study of a Goat. The animal nestled adjacent to a rock which the front half of the Goat lays upon, the haunches rests on the ground. The surface in general is smooth with a deep rich patination. In areas, simple incisions are suggestive of hair work which at the time of making would have looked far deeper and forceful, but now due to time and ownership take on a softened appearance. The flat underside bears all the hallmarks of time and is cut with a single entrance hole, the hole which accommodates the knot is half moon shaped and deeply excavated.
Signed: Awataguchi. Edo. Early 18th Century, possibly earlier.
Awataguchi is a rarely encountered artist, and when lucky enough to find an example of his work it will generally be a figure with a close stylistic relationship with Miwa I. It was perhaps he was a pupil of Miwa I and gained independence. Animals with his signature and also his near unique manner of creating the himotoshi are virtually unheard of. This netsuke represents a first for us, we’ve never owned an animal by him and only ever one figure. Rare really doesn’t classify this artists work, but the word will have to do for now.