Wood and ivory netsuke, The Dream of Rōsei, carved by Kagetoshi

Edo period, early 19th century AD

Chao Lu Sheng (Japanese: Rōsei) was a character of Chinese fable taken up by many artists in Japan, including the famous Hokusai in his Manga. Rōsei dreamed of fame and wealth, and awoke to realize the impermanence of things. The netsuke is minutely carved showing a palace of several storeys with many tiny figures among whom Rōsei lies asleep.

This is one of a group of netsuke by Kagetoshi (died around 1843). He is thought to have lived in Nagoya, where he made work very different from that of his contemporaries. He preferred elaborate small groups and landscapes, working in ivory, boxwood and ebony. He often used the sukashi-bori technique of deep undercutting. His signature is easily recognizable, being deeply cut in a raised rectangular background.

Find in the collection online

More information



Length: 4.500 cm

Museum number

Asia JA 1945.10-17.634


Bequeathed by Oscar C. Raphael


Find in the collection online

Search highlights

There are over 4,000 highlight objects to explore