unsigned ivory netsuke

18th century

parent and two young sanbikisaru

height 2 5/8 in., 6.8 cm

the standing parent holds one of its young to its stomach, its paw covering the baby's eyes, while it in turn reaches up to grap at the adult's ear; the second young balances on the parent's shoulder with a hand over its mouth, forming an amusing group of sanbikisaru, bearing a soft patina

The triad of hear-no-evil Kikazaru, see-no-evil Mizaru, and speak-no-evil Iwazaru are well known throughout Asia. In Japan they are associated with Saruta Hiko, the deity of roads. In The Animal in Far Eastern Art, Volker records that a stone statue of the group stands by the Tokaido highway where it crosses the river Yokota near Tokyo.

Expressions of Style: Netsuke as Art, Scholten Japanese Art, New York, August 2001, no. 155


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site last updated
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Scholten Japanese Art
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