Japanese netsuke mask

Shibata Shinsai [柴田眞哉]. Edo; circa 1890.
Height: 4.4 cm.
Peter E. Müller, Zurich.
A netsuke mask of silver and black lacquered hinoki wood depicting a round-cheeked okame with a smile playing across her silver face. The reverse of the netsuke is lacquered black with the crossbar bearing the gold makie signature:
眞哉: Shinsai.
According to Edward Wrangham in his book The Index of Inrō Artists (Great Britain, 1995) Shibata Shinsai (1858-95) was the second son of the famous lacquerer Shibata Zeshin, and studied with Zeshin’s pupil Ikeda Taishin before suffering an early death by suicide. He is also mentioned in The Netsuke Handbook of Ueda Reikichi as no. 980 and Neil Davey’s Netsuke as no. 2414.