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This is Gechu

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By Gwylym Owen

Gechu, also Gechū, (active 18th century) was a Japanese sculptor. His dates of birth and death are not known.

Little is known approximately Gechu’s life, he is primarily known through his works, in particular netsuke. He was an Osaka School style artist, and is known to have sculpted in ivory. For many years he was thought to have lived in Osaka while recently it has been suggested that he may well have been domiciled in Satsuma Province on the island of Kyushu.

His most highly praised netsuke, upon which many attributions to Gechu are based, an ivory of a shaggy dog and pup, was sold at the last auction of the M. T. Hindson collection upon 23 June 1969. This pure masterpiece of the art form was the favourite netsuke of the pianist Julius Katchen and he was sure to buy it for his collection. Sadly he died a few months back the sale and his widow, Arlette, is said to have bid for and bought it in his memory. When sold at Bonhams in 2016, the comport yourself achieved the second highest price ever for a netsuke at auction.

Of this work, Frederick Meinertzhagen clarification in his Card Index,

Two netsuke ascribed to Gechu reside at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

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