Hirotada wood and ivory netsuke

late 19th century

street performers with monkey

1 5/8 by 1 3/4 in., 4 by 4.5 cm

an entertainer wearing a dark sambaso eboshi (monkey trainer's hat) holds a rattle aloft as he chants, beside him is a kneeling trainer using an ivory switch stained green to direct a dancing monkey holding folded paper ornaments thrown over his shoulders; the figures are very well carved from a section of mottled colored hardwood to utilize the color variations- the standing figure's robes are nearly black while the seated figure's are lighter, their costumes are decorated with touches of red lacquer and carved and inlaid mother-of-pearl and stained ivory, their faces, hands and feet are ivory; signed on the underside on an inlaid mother-of-pearl plaque, Hirotada wtih kao

Sarumawashi (monkey trainers) typically would wear the distinctive lacquer conical hat associated with the Sambaso dance, derived from the Noh play, Okina, which is traditionally associated with New Year's activities.

another view and signature


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