unsigned marine tooth netsuke

19th century

carp and waterwheel

height 1 1/4 in., 3.2 cm

the fish curls into a tight arc as it attempts to overcome the swirling current made by the waterwheel, its mouth is open and the fins are tucked under its tensed body as it prepares itself to leap, details stained black, the eye inlaid in dark stone, unsigned

Carp are a symbol of perseverance, often depicted leaping up the rapids of a waterfall. Its strength and determination were qualities to which young men were expected to aspire. This study adapts the waterfall concept to the waterwheel, a more compact and practical composition for the netsuke format.

Expressions of Style: Netsuke as Art, New York, Scholten Japanese Art, August 2001, no. 168

another view


Scholten Japanese Art is open Monday - Friday, and some Saturdays by appointment only

Contact Katherine Martin at
(212) 585-0474 or email
to schedule a visit between 11am and 4pm preferably for no more than two individuals at a time.
Visitors are asked to wear face masks and practice social distancing at their discretion.

site last updated
October 21, 2021

Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
ph: (212) 585-0474
fx: (212) 585-0475