Netsuke, hand-carved & stained boxwood with inlaid buffalo horn.
Signed on an inset tablet of 18ct gold.
Netsuke is the traditional Japanese craft of carving miniature wooden sculptures designed to be used as toggles to hold the obi (sash) in place on a kimono.
This netsuke is an illustration of the fable by Aesop that tells the story of a race between two unequal partners. The hare soon leaves the tortoise behind, and confident of winning, takes a nap midway through the race. The netsuke is carved in a single piece and captures the moment the tortoise breaks the finishing line and turns towards the hare, which has just caught up with it, too late.