One-legged Sparrow

Sparrow Netsuke
Sparrow Netsuke
Sparrow Netsuke
Sparrow Netsuke
Sparrow Netsuke



Type: Netsuke

Sold. Russia, private collection.

Materials: Mammoth tusk. Amber and honey horn inlay.

Dimensions: 36×27×21 mm.

Weight: 19.8 g.


The prototype of this netsuke is one-legged sparrow (Tree Sparrow. Passer montanus.) that has been a tenant of my garden for the past two years. I observe the sparrow, while sparrow is watching me. One-legged is more placid than his fellow-sparrows, heaving trouble using his one leg at first. Now the leg is balanced at the center of gravity, as it should be, exactly in the middle of sparrow's body. I get an impression, that absence of a leg forced sparrow to think… It neither fusses for nothing, nor gets it startled easily, being on time where necessary, but at the same time not loosing its vigilance. One-legged is out of reach for our female cat, a bird-hunter, despite the fact that other, two-legged sparrows are easily caught by it.

That is the type of sparrow that I wanted to carve - as a symbol of our certain human "one-leggedness", which is revealed in certain ways in each of us, but at the same time, could be used as a stimulus for re-evaluation of the reality and departure from general stereotypical automatic behavior.