Among the leading lights in the city of Nagoya on Japan’s south island was the craftsman Tadatoshi who was active c.1770-1840.
One of his pieces, this finely detailed netsuke of a snail, is coming up for sale at Van Ham in Cologne on December 5 with an estimate of €10,000-15,000.
Next to nothing is known about Tadatoshi. He worked exclusively in cherry or boxwood, and was renowned for the exquisite, naturalistic details of his carving. On the boxwood figure in the auction this includes the realistic portrayal of the snail’s breathing hole which is scarcely visible to the naked eye.