The international restrictions of the sale of ivory have certainly taken their toll on the market for certain works of art.
In the case of netsuke, many collectors now focus on wood carvings, while still not completely neglecting their ivory counterparts.
On April 28, the top prices at Viennese auction house Zacke (30% buyer’s premium) were achieved for wooden pieces.
Leading the list was a signed figure of the mythical creature known as Kappa, executed by Hoshunsai Masayuki in the late 19th century.
He used stag-antler for many of his carvings and the treatment of the wood of this piece resembled his preferred material.
The ape-like Kappa, gnashing his teeth, is seated with crossed arms on a cucumber, according to legend its favourite food.
Its eyes are of blue-tinted horn which add to its somewhat haunting expression.
This did nothing to deter the collector who went over the guide of €20,000 and invested €24,000 (£21,240) to claim their prize.