unsigned wood netsuke

18th century


height 11.9 cm

wearing a short sarong skirt, the islander lifts his hands to his head as he turns to one side, smiling broadly, his long hair is swept backwards and his face has the prominent eyes and broad nose of a foreigner, his bony ribs are well delineated and his slack stomach bulges over his skirt, the dark wood is well worn with a deep patina

The southern islanders appeared very primitive to the Japanese, who referred to them as Nambanjin (wild people of the South). By carving the netsuke of the subject in dark wood, the artist was also able to portray the blackness of his skin color.

Expressions of Style: Netsuke as Art, Scholten Japanese Art, New York, August 2001, no. 5


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 28, 2021

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