One of the highlights is a 3in (8cm) boxwood netsuke portraying the historical general Kan’u, also known as Guan Yu, who died in 220. He was a successful campaigner, but his defeat at the battle of Fancheng, subsequent capture and execution marked the end of the Han Dynasty, which was succeeded by the Three Kingdoms.
In the following centuries Kan’u became the subjects of plays and novels, achieving a status, virtually on a level with Confucius. He is regarded as the epitome of loyalty, courage and righteousness. He has been worshipped as a deity until the present day.
The 19th century Edo-Period figure, carved in boxwood by the prolific netsuke master Minkoku, is one of 180 netsuke Lempertz is selling from the Papp collection; it is expected to bring €4500-5500.