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A large marine tooth. Like the medium, a marine theme has been chosen from this superior piece of material. A crab and, what appears to be a leatherback turtle, have found themselves nestled on a cluster of shells.
The material and the subject point towards a possible maker from Iwami. Indeed when we hold the piece, an artist a generation prior to the Iwami artist Goho, springs to mind. However, there are smaller similar groups in existence with Kyoto artist signatures, carved from elephant ivory. The himotoshi is also deeply excavated and formed with a small entrance hole and huge knot cavity, indicative of very early Kyoto examples. The origin is a real quandary! At present, I would perhaps lean towards Kyoto, but if the piece could talk and told me “I was made in Iwami”, it certainly wouldn’t be a surprise.
Certainly 18th Century, and we would propose from the first half of the century.