Netsuke: Autumn grasses with praying mantis, 18th century
Attributed to Ryûsa
Carved ivory; H. 7/8 in. (2.2 cm), Diam. 2 1/8 in. (5.4 cm)
Gift of Mrs. Russell Sage, 1910 (10.211.1271)
The openwork, lacelike effect of this netsuke is named after Ryûsa, the carver credited with inventing this technique. The piece, carved on a lathe, is hollowed out. The dark, shadowy interior contrasts with the lighter surfaces of ivory, carved in high relief, and the stippled surface that here appears as mist, creating a sense of recessive space within the confines of this netsuke's two-inch diameter.