Since I have no clue (and to save myself from any embarrassment ...), I have posted my 'Grinning Monkey with tortoise" in the Modern Tourist Souvenir Netsuke & Netsuke-like Objects section. It's clear to me that this figure is not a top notch museum piece. I still hope you still find it of some interest and shine some light on this little figure. I found it intriguing (I wanted to know the story behind it) and it made me smile. The monkey has quite the expression and it's back demants petting. I hope it brings me good luck.
- Measurements of the figure: 5 cm long, 3,5 cm wide and 3,6 cm tall (1.9 inch x 1.3 inch x 1.4 inch)
- It does not have himotoshi
- It is not signed (I think this is a good thing), is does seem to have some glue leftovers from a sticker (bad thing) and other glue stains.
- It has no inlayed eyes
- It's damaged: it's right ear has broken off, toes and hands (carving failures) and it contains some pinpricks (some due to the material?)
- Material: Bone? I think the carving is too rough and not 'perfect' enough to be plastic.
It looks pretty worn, but it also can be dirty. It looks like some laquer/varnish (to preserve? or to look like Ivory) has been applied
The tortoise appears to have much more detail than the monkey
Questions I have:
- Is it Japanese?
Can it be considered a Netsuke due to its size although it does not have himotoshi?
Which tale / saga is depicted? If it's the story of the sea princess and the monkey liver, it seems the monkey should not be smiling. I don't get this story.
Is it old? If it is from what period?
What style / school would it (try to) resamble?
Should I try to remove the varnish?
and every other information you will provide.
More pictures of different angles for the persons who have not been put off by the first picture:
Please excuse my faulty English since it is not my native language and thank you for taking time to read and hopefully reply to this post.