A wood group, Raiden and Raitaro. The senior sits on a drum, an instrumenthe uses to summon a thunder storm. Tied to Raiden’s waist is a gourd (Hyotan) from which spills a plume of vapour that trails around the drum. Juniorbalances on the drum and vapour to peer at the world below. The good parentthat Raiden is, he grips Raitaro by his loin cloth (Fundoshi) to ensure he doesn’t fall. The drum inlaid in studs of black horn and the entrance hole of the cord channel are inlaid in malachite.
The Jugyoku studio we believe have always been an underrated Edo/Tokyoschool establishment. The output generally falls into three categories: the Edo; the Manju; and the Tokyo Netsuke. The early work, which in its infancy was probably anonymous, competed with the likes of Ryukei I, Minkoku I and Miwa III or Miwa IIII. From a dating perspective, around 1800 would be asuggestion. An example of this studio’s work from this period might be theTemple Guardian. Please see: The Raymond & Frances Bushell Collection ofNetsuke. LACMA. Number 129. Another Netsuke closely related to the Temple Guardian is an Oni holding a Shoki mask. Please see: Eskenazi. The Dawson Collection. Number 8. The Oni bears the studio’s name. Fast forward some time, and a vogue for Manju appears, which the Jugyoku studio exploited. These were made when the nation’s capital, Edo, was going through not onlya name change, to Tokyo, but serious economic and social upheaval. In our previous catalogue for the INS Convention 2017 in Cologne we offered a manjuof a Rakkan, page 51. Manju of this standard, for us, qualifies the studio tobe included, and perhaps even considered the dominant force within, theholy trinity of Edo/Tokyo manju makers with Hojitsu and Ono Ryomin. TheEdo Netsuke, like the aforementioned Temple Guardian and Oni, which were bold and characterful, evolved into the Tokyo Netsuke. These were basically scaled down versions of the Edo Netsuke precursors with all the delicacy anddetailing a knife and carving talent can muster. Once again, the Jugyoku studioexcelled within this genre, in fact we would suggest they laid the foundation for this Tokyo type, adding subtle inlay where applicable in a sensitive manner. So sought after were they that, in his mature stage, Tokoku would adopt the inlaid Tokyo Netsuke, profusely embellishing it, making his name famous. Our Raidenand Raitaro exemplifies this latter type. What binds these three distinct typestogether is, in the vast majority of cases, the superiority of the work that left the studio. They were a fashion sensitive studio, reacting to the ever-changingtastes of their clientele. The studio satisfied these tastes, which today wegreatly admire, even if the market has perhaps overlooked their important input in the history of Netsuke art.
Private German Collection.
Ex: Raymond and Frances Bushell Collection.