I have had this for 35 years or more. It and one other Japanese carved figure are all that I kept from a large collection of Netsuke. This one was unique and a favorite. It is not a netsuke, but is a puzzle of sorts. While he is missing one hand, otherwise he is complete and in 8 pieces when dismantled. Meant to be, and I really can't tell you if it was a child's toy or what its history is. I just always loved the smiling gardener with his potted plant and his pipe, or is it a water tin? When I bought it, it was declared as early 1800s. I think no later than c.1850, but it certainly could be earlier. This one is unsigned.
Very good to excellent condition for age and type, with the mention that his one hand is missing. It was missing way back when I bought him. Perhaps some talented carver could create a replacement. There are no chips, no cracks, no hairlines other than a very fine tight age line that you see on his face. It has not changed at all in 35 years. I don't think it's going to get worse in the next century or two. Were he a standing figure, he would be 7" tall. The weight of the solid old ivory is substantial.
IMPORTANT NOTE regarding antique tortoise shell or ivory: We are great supporters of protection for endangered species in our modern world. We never buy or sell anything 100 years or newer; we donate to anti-poaching organizations; we don't hunt; we conserve in ways that impact global warming (we're totally solar at home), knowing those measures also protect the animals in the wild today. We also recognize the vast cultural history we preserve with our care and reverence for these antique objects, and agree with CITES that objects over 100 years of age have nothing whatsoever to do with species depletion in our current world.
Our offering exceeds the age limitation of "more than 100 years of age", and is well within the exemption for CITES regulation. If imported, met the CITES regulation. This item will be handled and shipped from our Utah business, and is not available for shipment internationally, nor within the USA to California, NY, Nevada, Hawaii, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington if it contains ivory, sorry. Please see our small print for more details.