Kohosai ivory netsuke

Osaka, d. 1907


height 2 1/2 in., 6.5 cm

the beauty lifts the hem of her kimono as she walks on her high geta, she wears a robe incised with a cherry blossom design, the obi tied at the back with a large slanted blow; one of her long sleeves blows backwards; her elaborate chignon is set with cherry blossom combs, she casts her gaze modestly downwards with a solemn expression; her hair is stained black, her robe and sandals are stained a light brown, signed Kohosai

Her hairstyle and the long sleeves (furisode) of her robe suggest that this young woman is likely a maiko- a teenage apprentice geisha.

In Collector's Netsuke (1971, p. 54), Raymond Bushell discusses Kohosai's remarkable skill at manipulating lacquer to achieve convincing colors, textures and patinas on the surface of his netsuke. This example achieves a similar realism in carving and staining as that of a study of seated figure which Bushell illustrates (p. 128, no. 208).

Expressions of Style: Netsuke as Art, Scholten Japanese Art, New York, August 2001, no. 27


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
December 1, 2022

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