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Copy?

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GRHR
Posts: 17
Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2017 3:48 pm

Copy?

Postby GRHR » Thu Dec 07, 2017 10:35 am

Dear Forum,
I was lucky enough to win the beautiful Kuzunoha netsuke at the Christies auction on Tuesday ( http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/Lot/ ... tails.aspx ). I love this netsuke for both the excellent detail and craftsmanship but also because I like the Kuzunoha story it tells (the brush in her mouth used to write a leaving love poem to her husband Abe no Yasuna. This piece is unsigned but I was aware that it has more than a striking resemblance to this piece in the Met museum -
https://metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/59254 which is signed, and signed by Masakazu.
The questions I have for the forum as these:

1. Is my piece likely to be a copy of the Masakazu original by a student from the same school?
2. Is my piece possibly carved by Masakazu himself but unsigned? If so, why would he sign one but not the other?
3. Is my piece a copy by carver unknown with no relation to the original other than the original has been seen to be copied?
4. Is my piece actually the original or test piece before the one in the Met was carved and signed because it is better?
5. Is the piece a later copy or fake?
6. Does any of this even matter and should I even be thinking about it and just enjoy the excellent piece for what it is??

Any and all thoughts much appreciated as always!
Giles

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chonchon
Posts: 6584
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Location: Japan

Re: Copy?

Postby chonchon » Thu Dec 07, 2017 11:14 am

Sounds interesting. Do you have any photographs of either, or even both of them? :)

PS oops! The Met link took time to show any photos!
Such a heart-rending story.
Last edited by chonchon on Thu Dec 07, 2017 3:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Piers

Size is something.

pjburton
Posts: 55
Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2009 11:48 am
Location: United Kingdom

Re: Copy?

Postby pjburton » Thu Dec 07, 2017 11:47 am

GRHR wrote:Dear Forum,
I was lucky enough to win the beautiful Kuzunoha netsuke at the Christies auction on Tuesday ( http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/Lot/ ... tails.aspx ). I love this netsuke for both the excellent detail and craftsmanship but also because I like the Kuzunoha story it tells (the brush in her mouth used to write a leaving love poem to her husband Abe no Yasuna. This piece is unsigned but I was aware that it has more than a striking resemblance to this piece in the Met museum -
https://metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/59254 which is signed, and signed by Masakazu.
The questions I have for the forum as these:

1. Is my piece likely to be a copy of the Masakazu original by a student from the same school?
2. Is my piece possibly carved by Masakazu himself but unsigned? If so, why would he sign one but not the other?
3. Is my piece a copy by carver unknown with no relation to the original other than the original has been seen to be copied?
4. Is my piece actually the original or test piece before the one in the Met was carved and signed because it is better?
5. Is the piece a later copy or fake?
6. Does any of this even matter and should I even be thinking about it and just enjoy the excellent piece for what it is??

Any and all thoughts much appreciated as always!
Giles


Giles,

judging by the Christies & Met Museum photographs at the links you provided it seems most likely that Kuzunoha you purchased is a good school/studio work that you should enjoy owning and researching.

For what it's worth I thought that several items in the Christies sale went very cheaply and can only assume that everyone is saving their money to bid on the Kirin at Van Ham today!!
Peter

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jbjtennyo
Posts: 3645
Joined: Fri Jun 06, 2008 8:38 pm
Location: USA

Re: Copy?

Postby jbjtennyo » Thu Dec 07, 2017 4:25 pm

Giles,
Thank you for sharing your new acquisition. I believe that your carving is a later copy. When I zoomed in closely, I could see that some of the detail carving looks a little unfinished and it lacked the patina and smoother surface that age would allow it. Also some heavy areas of stain that were not cleaned off carefully enough make me think it is a newer copy. But all that said, I do like the carving very much, and I think you should enjoy your acquisition which has, to me, a nice feel about it.
Judy

GRHR
Posts: 17
Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2017 3:48 pm

Re: Copy?

Postby GRHR » Thu Dec 07, 2017 8:50 pm

Thanks for your comments - Judy, I think what you have seen as I've now seen now at close quarters is that the left ear is not in keeping with the rest of the peice and there are a couple of stain blobs both on the left side of the face and on the left side of the neck by the head of Abe no Seimei - could this be signs of a repair? To my novice eyes it looks like the left ear might have been repaired / added and the stain used for the ear has not carefully been removed leaving the blobs - is this possible? I agree that the these elements had lead me to question the age of the piece but I think a repair may be more likley as the rest of the netsuke is of the quality and finish you'd expect. Any thoughts?
Thanks again,
Giles

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jbjtennyo
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Location: USA

Re: Copy?

Postby jbjtennyo » Thu Dec 07, 2017 10:12 pm

Giles,
When you actually have this in hand you will be able to tell more than you can from images. I have navigated all over this, and I see many areas in question, some on the shoulder that look like filler has been used. Down the nose and around the eyes, the carving seems rough at close range,in those detail areas, and I don't know why. I just think you need to look at it closely when it comes. I looked at the description as well, and it is not making any claims of age that I saw. When it arrives you will be able to have a closer look and some things will become obvious, where as now, we are coming to conclusions based on images.
Hang in there - it aint over till the fat lady sings!!
Judy

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souldeep
Posts: 3479
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Location: London

Re: Copy?

Postby souldeep » Fri Dec 08, 2017 6:00 am

Caught up in the Van Ham handling, I actually ran out of opportunities to handle the Christies offerings in my own home town!

However, I know a few of the members here did get to handle. I could be mistaken, but I think there where a few questions regarding this piece. Hopefully one of the members will come along and share what, if anything, was noticed in the handling :)
Piglet: "Pooh?" Pooh: "Yes, Piglet?" Piglet: "I've been thinking..." Pooh: "That's a very good habit to get into to, Piglet." - A.A. Milne.

GRHR
Posts: 17
Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2017 3:48 pm

Re: Copy?

Postby GRHR » Fri Dec 08, 2017 10:11 am

Many thanks Souldeep and Judy - I would very much like to hear the opinions of others who have handled the piece so hopefully they will come forward! I have the piece and to me it in general feels authentic, but questions lie with the ear and staining (the left ear actually feels different to the touch and is carved differently underneath). I've posted some photos I've taken that may help the analysis and if anyone is free to look at them and add comments it would be greatly appreciated. I should say that I love the piece regardless, however, it was advertised as being from the Edo period in the detail given by Christies' and no mention was made of any repairs (do they have to mention this??) and was bought from Christies which as a reputable auction house I had hoped would give some assurance that it is genuine...I am beginning to feel how naive I am...
The more comments the merrier so please anyone who has the time, throw in your thoughts :)
P1140837.JPG
side view showing ear that is different and blob stain and additional staining to neck
P1140843.JPG
back and shoulder
P1140844.JPG
other side that looks perfect
P1140840.JPG
Underneath shot of the ears
Last edited by GRHR on Fri Dec 08, 2017 10:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

GRHR
Posts: 17
Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2017 3:48 pm

Re: Copy?

Postby GRHR » Sat Dec 09, 2017 9:12 pm

Dear forum,
Any comments on my last post?
I'd really appreciate your thoughts,
Giles

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AFNetsuke
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Location: Central California coast, USA

Re: Copy?

Postby AFNetsuke » Sun Dec 10, 2017 1:33 am

no mention was made of any repairs (do they have to mention this??)


I assume you read the condition report if one was available. All the auction houses qualify condition with catalog statements that you should have a hands on evaluation. Except in a major sale with very valuable pieces the fact is the auction houses don't have the time or inclination to vet everything so getting your hands on a piece your are interested in or talking with someone who will be previewing is very important in many instances. When you attend previews in the future look at the condition reports for any items you find with damage or repairs and compare your impression with what the report states. They are not guarantees.
Alan


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