This old Japanese netsuke* is carved from a tagua nut.
The tagua nut comes from a type of palm tree called a Yarina (as eny fule no) which is found in parts of South America. When the large fruit falls to the ground the soft parts are eaten by rodents exposing the nuts which vary in size from cherry to grapefruit. These when dried have the consistency of ivory and for the last 200 years have been extensively used for carving things like netsuke, dice, dominoes, and chess pieces, umbrella handles, pipes, sewing needle cases, figurines, toys and so on (or in the case of buttons – sew on).
We believe this netsuke to be an old one but as our Japanese is a trifle rusty we have not managed to read the signature. Perhaps you can?
Rumour has it that the little face is supposed to bring good luck – this however we cannot guarantee.
We recommend having this item insured while in transit.
Why not visit our Price Negotiator and make an offer....?
* A Netsuke is a small, intricately carved toggle for fastening the cords of cloth bags.