Wooden netsuke: a wasps' nest
Edo period, early 19th century AD
Subjects for netsuke became more and more diverse as the Edo period progressed. All kinds of insects, as well as spiders, were a popular subject. Here a perfectly carved wasp alights on the nest.
This is one of The British Museum's group of wooden netsuke signed by Toyomasa. Two others are depictions of Handaka Sonja, one of the sixteen disciples of the Buddha, called rakan. One of them, only 3.8 cm high, shows him emerging from his own gourd.
L. Smith, V. Harris and T. Clark, Japanese art: masterpieces in (London, The British Museum Press, 1990)