Featured Netsuke, fine carving, signed, but not made as one originally?

Discussion in 'Antique Discussion' started by Smudged, Dec 7, 2019.

  1. Smudged

    Smudged Well-Known Member

    So, I have this animal head Netsuke, described as bone at the auction but I didn't think it was when I bid on it and i believe it may well be walrus tusk ivory or similar (NOT elephant). The carving quality is superb, and the ends of the possible tusk look as though they have been blocked in by solid 'ivory' before carving and then integrated into the carving I think, which would hide the internal structure...just a thought though.
    The head is very heavy, another suggestion it's not bone as well. It is signed underneath but I do wonder if it is a piece, Japanese or not (I wondered Inuit at first), that has been adapted as a Netsuke later as the holes have been drilled with not as much care as the rest of the figure has been carved. They holes do meet by the way and you could thread a cord through successfully. Oh and it's 50mm long.
    I believe it should be a bear head, or possibly otter, and it is incredibly tactile in the hand. Does anyone recognise the initials or carving hand? I do love it, it lends itself to being held and I doubt I will part with this one.
    bear-netsuke-9 small.jpg bear-netsuke-8 small.jpg bear-netsuke-5 small.jpg bear-netsuke-6 small.jpg bear-netsuke-4 small.jpg bear-netsuke-2 small.jpg
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2019
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  2. Bronwen

    Bronwen Well-Known Member

    I'm going with Japanese, dragon's head, some kind of bone, which would also need plugging in order not to have a hole in it. It is not walrus or elephant.
     
  3. blooey

    blooey Well-Known Member

    Looks like a bone carving of Homer Simpson
     
  4. ulilwitch

    ulilwitch Well-Known Member

    Made me think of a Hippopotamus.
     
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  5. Aquitaine

    Aquitaine Is What It IS! But NEVER BORED!

    I'm mostly in love with the eyes......!!:smug::smug:
     
  6. Smudged

    Smudged Well-Known Member

    Interesting, can honestly say it hasn't made me think Dragon, just doesn't seem dragonish! I would have thought the colouring wrong for bone, not of the main body but of the 'vessel' markings (if that's what they are), iv'e had carved bone and normally the vessels are black or very dark, these are tan colour, plus it seems too heavy, feels denser than bone somehow. Hmmmm, not sure.
     
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  7. Bronwen

    Bronwen Well-Known Member

    I like the nose. The holes of 2 different sizes are correct for a netsuke.
     
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  8. Smudged

    Smudged Well-Known Member

    Yeah, they are inlaid, brown with black centre. 2" long
     
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  9. Bronwen

    Bronwen Well-Known Member

    I've seen plenty of bone just about this color & can't recall seeing any with black striations. It is clearly hollow down the center, the other major indicator for bone.
     
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  10. Smudged

    Smudged Well-Known Member

    That's good at least, It was the way they seemed lightly off-set that threw me, such care taken with the rest of the piece. They are uneven at the edges too, which doesn't show very well on the photos.
     
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  11. KikoBlueEyes

    KikoBlueEyes Well-Known Member

    I envy you finding a netsuke this well made and comic in its approach. It looks like a dog to me, but the middle teeth are wrong.
     
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  12. Bronwen

    Bronwen Well-Known Member

    I guessed they would be because of the way bone splinters. Must not ever have seen active duty as a netsuke or the cord would have worn them smooth.
     
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  13. Bronwen

    Bronwen Well-Known Member

    The mixed character of eyes, ears, nose & teeth is what makes me think something mythical.
     
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  14. Smudged

    Smudged Well-Known Member

    Fair enough, maybe i'm thinking of more recent bone carving but iv'e certainly had bone with darker vessel opening (thinking rib bones used as smoothers; I used to work with them). Mind you, depends on the bone I guess :)
     
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  15. KikoBlueEyes

    KikoBlueEyes Well-Known Member

    I see your point. Maybe it is an "Inugami" (I just looked that up). The dog spirit that does the inhabiting.[​IMG]

    I was wrong this is a netsuke of an inugami
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2019
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  16. Smudged

    Smudged Well-Known Member

    That Inugami is gorgeous!
     
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  17. Bronwen

    Bronwen Well-Known Member

    What big teeth you have, Grandma!
     
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  18. Smudged

    Smudged Well-Known Member

    :hilarious::hilarious::hilarious:

    I fell in love with an Okimono once, a modern carving by Clive Hallam, of a Tanuki or racoon dog. It was stunning but went for way more than I could afford.
     
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  19. Bronwen

    Bronwen Well-Known Member

    Are these the trickster critters I think are probably red pandas?

    [​IMG]
     
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  20. komokwa

    komokwa The Truth is out there...!

    I just shipped off a bone carving of a skull...blocked on both top and bottom the same way !!
    Of course I've had it for 30 years, & have no photo of it.....of course !!
    but you'll see it when Secret Santa gets revealed......:hilarious:
     
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