with polychrome traces showing a Chokuaro standing up looking at a horse emerging from a gourd placed on his back,
PIASA group, Drouot-Paris. This bid can be explained by the fact that this was a rare netsuke. High prices are usually fetched for archaic netsuke pieces but 19thCentury works also sell well meaning that there is no specific age criterion regarding netsuke. Animals and flowers are also much in demand in preference to human figures while ivory is better sought though wood pieces can reach impressive bids. A signature can result in a higher price, notably in the U.S or in Britain, though old pieces are rarely signed. The main problem is that many pieces can bear the forged signatures of some famous artists such as Kaigyokusai, Koryosai, Masanao, Masatsugu, Ritsuo, Ryukei, Saku, Tomodata, Toyomasa, Yashinaga and others. The netsuke glossary is all the more quite complex with Ashinaga, a mythological character whose name means long legs, Baku, the eater of bad dreams, Daruma, the Indian wise man, the first Buddhist Zen patriarch who did not eat nor talk during nine years and was considered as a kind of martyr, Hannya, the mask of a witch with demon eyes of the No theatre, Hoteï, the god of wealth, one of the seven gods of happiness, Inoki, meaning cypress tree, Inro, a basket for seals, Jurojin, a god of Chinese origin, linked to literature and long life represented as an old man holding a stick and accompanied by a deer or a turtle, Kappa, a small mythological creature with the body of a turtle, a human head and a beak, Kinko, an immortal character from China represented as riding a carp, Kirin, a fabulous animal like the Western Unicorn, Kwanyu, a famous Chinese general of the Han dynasty considered as the god of war, Manju, a round netsuke, Naginata, a Japanese spear similar to a hallbard, Okimono, a big size netsuke without holes without practical use, Okina, a Japanese old man with long hair falling on the forefront of his head and his cheeks, Oni, a demon or a mischievous sprite originating from China, Raiden, the thunderstorm god, Rakan, an imaginary wise man, the Japanese incarnation of a Chinese immortal whose soul can leave his body, Sashi, a large size netsuke (up to 15 cm long, with a curved extremity, Sambikisaru, meaning not seeing, not saying,nor hearing, Sennin, an ascetic living in the mountains who has extraordinary powers, Shibuichi, a copper and silver alloy with silver grey patina, Shishi, the mythical form of a lion-dog, Tenanga, a mythological character with long arms and Yamabushi, which means «fighter of the mountains», an itinerant monk-warrior. Modern netsuke are less in demand despite some good works produced by Sosui (Born in 1911), Tokisada Nakamura (Born in 1915) or Risihisai Kangyoku (Born in 1944). Netsuke pieces were introduced in Europe during the 19th Century and met some tremendous success among Western collectors like the Goncourt brothers, the writer Adolphe d'Ennery, the famous goldsmith Carl Fabergé or the French politician Georges Clémenceau and musician Julius Katchen who amassed some extraordinary pieces during his life time. However, there are not many collectors around the world today and the best auction sales are usually taking place in New York or in London.