Bronze Zodiac Snake Netsuke Antique Japanese Sagemono Signed Hiroaki 廣明
Antique Japanese Bronze Netsuke
Coiling Snake 生肖蛇
Zodiac Good Luck Charms
Sig: Hiroaki 廣明. Circa: Showa, early 1900s’
H. 1 in. (2.5cm), W. 1 in. (2.5cm), D. 1.25 in. (3cm)
Condition: very good!
For reason that the snake has a latitude of forms and variety of scaled patterns, it is one of the favorite subjects which netsuke artists can freely explore. As shown here in this finely cast bronze netsuke, a twisting cobra snake coiling in an aggressive stance, with head up ready to strike whoever and whatever comes near. The openwork has seven pass-through tunnels, thus the lost wax casting was likely accomplished with several molds, and finished by hand chased cross-hatching on hot metal for the snake scales. Signed on the base in a curved cachet: Hiroaki 廣明, a prolific netsukeshi recorded in the Netsuke Handbook and MT Hindson collection.
In Japanese legend, serpents (hebi 蛇) are the benevolent creature of Shinto Gods, particularly associated with one of the Seven Gods of Luck, the Goddess Benten. The snake is the sixth zodiac animal, and snake netsuke is also a good luck charm favored by samurai, merchants and peasants alike. People born in the year of the snake are believed to be wise, independent and wealthy with a handsome or beautiful appearance. Year of the Snake: 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013, 2025, 2037.