Garaku ivory netsuke

Osaka, 19th century

monkey and octopus

height 1 5/8 in., 4.2 cm

the monkey perched on an outcropping rock holding the tentacles of a small octopus which clings to the side, finely carved with delicate hairwork, the outer rings of the ivory well-utilzed to give the back of the monkey distinctive coloring; signed on underside, Garaku

This netsuke references a legend in which the octopus-physician to Ryujin, the Dragon King of the Sea, prescribes a monkey's liver to heal the King's daughter, but the monkey outwits a jellyfish sent to capture him. In this carving the monkey, with a very human-like bemused expression, seems to have the situation well in hand. There seems to be little danger that the octopus will have any success in securing his prey.

Scholten Japanese Art Exhibition Catalogue 2000, New York, September 2000, no. 27


Scholten Japanese Art is open Monday - Friday, and some Saturdays, 11am - 5pm, by appointment.

Contact Katherine Martin at
(212) 585-0474 or email
to schedule a visit.

site last updated
September 17, 2019

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