This Japanese antique Kutani porcelain ornament or statue of a monkey appears to have once been a part of the 'see no evil, hear no evil' group, this one being the 'speak no evil' monkey we ended up with. He is a very unusual piece and thought to be very old. The information for 'antique and Kutani' came from our original seller in the U.S.I spent some time looking for one like it or that refuted it and had less luck with the latter. I did not have much luck in finding any other pottery or porcelain monkey statues beyond the Meiji period, or even those from different countries in trying to find one similar that would turn out to be something else. In fact, I found more statues and styles that if further aged would definitely fall into the Kutani line of statue and decor. Of interest, while working on our Banko teapot and reviewing the Kyogen or Comedic Mask list, I noticed there are two monkeys one of which really resembles the face and character of this one. So it is very possible, this statue was made in the likeness of the Kozaru or Child monkey character mask, of which this face is made very much in its likeness. And, it could be part of a 'do no evil' group and the piece "speak no evil". Often, when animal ornaments are made in Japan they are made from the Japanese zodiac. If you were born in 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, or 2016, you were born in the year of the monkey! In Japan, it is called 'Dainichi Nyorai 申'.
Kutani statues can come in many styles, shapes and sizes and are made with many various styles of paint designs and color. He certainly has a finely made and shaped overall bodylooking quite natural with a great stance and a very unusual artistic face and eyes with an unusual expression, his hands are covering his mouth. The body feels like Japanese Porcelain. The red and gold is certainly similar to certain Kutani wares, usually as one would find in painted pottery, with a fine red background color and heavily painted gold lines so thin to resemble the monkey hair they are almost like sengaki lines, these flow with the direction of the movement of the monkey's body parts and lends to a state of natural looking hair. He is made extremely well with great artwork from head to toe. He is not signed, which is unusual for Kutani I suppose unless he is a very old piece. I think it is reasonable to date him to the 19th century just not sure which part.
This is medium- heavy ware. The bottom of the monkey looks like one would expect for an older Kutani piece, except for that someone has painted it, I think. Best seen in the picture where he is laying on his back with his head towards you, he is missing the tips of his three middle fingers on his left hand, visible at certain angles. Otherwise, he has no cracks or chips and is in great condition.
SIZE: Height 5 in or 12.7 cm, Width 3.5 in or cm, Depth 3.5 in or cm
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