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Major Ambler acquired the 18th century netsuke, and 32 other Japanese ivories at the clearance of Heaton Mount, a Bradford mansion, in 1919. Almost all of them were single-piece (high quality) okimonos and figural carvings, but the buffalo and calf was one of only a couple of netsukes, and it sold at £4100 – a relatively strong price – to a London dealer.

Ivories are one of the few areas of the Japanese market that remain strong due to continued US interest, and with the exception of the netsuke and a handful of other ivories, the London trade could not match the prices being paid by the Palm Beach dealer, who acquired two thirds of the collection, probably on commission. His purchases immortal slaying a dragon signed Getsu, 7in (18.5cm) high, at £4700, a figure of a female warrior braiding her long hair with a spear and sword by her side, signed Itto and
measuring 7in (18cm) high, at £3800 and an 8in (20cm) standing figure of a male dignitary in a butterfly decorated robe, signed Noberatu, which sold at £2900.

A complex figure of a street entertainer in a wide straw hat with a monkey on his shoulder and a small child at his feet, signed Yusui-To, 61/2in (17cm) high, rated £2100 and an ivory model of a pheasant with silver claws and mother-of-pearl eyes, 10in (26cm) long, made £2100.