Okimono - Elephant ivory - Probably Naga-Yuki - O-no no Tô-Fû - Japan - Meiji period (1868-1912)

Okimono - Elephant ivory - Probably Naga-Yuki - O-no no Tô-Fû - Japan - Meiji period (1868-1912)
Very good condition, see description - 4.6×3.8×3.5 cm


O-no no Tô-Fû, one of the three great calligraphy experts of the 10th century in Japan (894-964) was a minister of the emperors Shu-jaku and Mura-kami.

He is represented here traditionally dressed as a nobleman, holding an umbrella, and wearing a “yé-bo-shi”, high beanie hat exclusively reserved to noblemen and high ranking officials.

The two frogs carved at his feet refers to a very popular anecdote. It is said that O-no no Tô-Fû tried unsuccessfully, in seven different instances during his public servant career, to reach a higher position than the one he was occupying.

Losing hope, he was ready to give up, leave the palace and end his career, when he saw a small frog failing desperately at catching with its mouth a weeping willow leaf hanging over a stream.

Seven times the small animal fell back in the water without achieving its goal, but managed to catch it at its eight try.

O-no no Tô-Fû understood that the Gods were teaching him a lesson with this persistent frog, he mustered his courage and eventually succeeded at becoming a minister.


Late 19th Century - C. 1880


On the underside close to the right foot. Probably Naga-Yuki


Good global condition some small tiny chips visible on pictures see pictures for details


Luxembourg private collection

Lot details
Elephant ivory
Meiji period (1868-1912)
Region/ Country of origin
Artist/ Maker
Probably Naga-Yuki
Title of artwork
O-no no Tô-Fû
Very good condition, see description
4.6×3.8×3.5 cm
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