Netsuke: Boar resting on bush clover, 19th century
Wood; H. 7/8 in. (2.3 cm), W. 1 9/16 in. (3.9 cm), D. 1 in. (2.5 cm)
Edward C. Moore Collection, Bequest of Edward C. Moore, 1891 (91.1.989)
This netsuke, carved in the round, depicts a boar in peaceful repose amidst bush clover that envelops it like a blanket. The carver's choice of material, in this case wood, allows for exquisitely detailed features that extend to the underside of the netsuke. About 80 percent of antique or traditional netsuke were carved in various types of wood. Without the aid of a specialist, it is difficult to identify the various types of wood, although we do know that many netsuke were produced of boxwood, favored for its fine grain, durability, and resistance to wear.
The wild boar, or inoshishi in Japanese, is one of the twelve animals of the zodiac. People born under this sign are considered faithful, honest, and determined.