"A Japanese boxwood okimomo of the Rat Catcher, signed Masayume, Meiji period, 2 3/4" x 2".
The rat is associated with Daikoku, one of the Shichi Fuku Jin (Seven household Gods, or Gods of Luck) The rat has been held to have an emblematic and moral meaning in connection with Daikoku's bag, and which like all other riches, requires constant care and watch to prevent it from dwindling away under the tooth of the parasite. The rat is one of the twelve Japanese Zodiac signs (Nezumi) and is often depicted in Japanese decorative and fine arts." - Bernie McManus, Appraiser, Woodbury House, Connecticut, 10/23/1999
The Meiji Restoration began in 1868, returning Japan to direct imperial rule under the emperor Meiji after the fall of the Tokugawa Shogunate, ending with his death in 1912. - D. Schrishuhn, 9/20/2000