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Ittobori technique study

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DSW90049
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Postby DSW90049 » Mon Jan 18, 2016 9:20 pm

"3 dimensional chess played with extremely sharp knives" [!!!!!]

Just astoundingly well said. . . .

I will NEVER look at/handle another Ittobori piece the same way again, and, will carry the mental imagery of
your generously guiding us through this process for a long, long time, Clive.

Thank you. There is always more to learn, no matter what experience level you are on.

"There is no shortcut to netsuke collecting; it takes time, study and patience. The market is flooded with utterly worthless rubbish. . . . "
Netsukes: Their Makers, Use and Meaning, H. Seymour Trower(1898)~~~~David

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Clive
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Postby Clive » Mon Jan 18, 2016 11:12 pm

Image

Image
Attachments
2576388_desk2.jpg
2576392_desk.jpg

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NetsukeManiac
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Postby NetsukeManiac » Mon Jan 18, 2016 11:27 pm

An ittobori cicada is quite a challenge, especially when you consider the fragility of the wings. In fact, yours may be the very first ittobori cicada! Every cut carefully calculated and deliberately executed, notwithstanding cut fingers of course!

In the Netsuke World, The Hida ittobori carvers don't seem to given enough credit for their work. For this reason I have focused on finding good examples, which at the moment are fairly easy to find where I am located and also pretty economical to buy.

Dave

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peter
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Postby peter » Tue Jan 19, 2016 1:24 pm

Hello Clive,
For me the in the past I think " carving with a single knife stroke" and "type of carving with angular cuts and minimal detail" As the regular glossary in the books.
I think it is only as the European naive Shepherd or peasant, or all ower the word, simplier, naive carved his work only with his pocket knife.
Maybe I understand wrong.The professional carver has a lot of knife and chisel to finish his work.
What is Your opinion?
Thank You
Peter

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souldeep
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Postby souldeep » Tue Jan 19, 2016 7:06 pm

peter wrote:I think it is only as the European naive Shepherd or peasant, or all ower the word, simplier, naive carved his work only with his pocket knife.


Hi Peter. it's interesting you say that. I made reference to this in the Ittobori thread and that I think many individuals have that opinion. The technique you describe has a name - whittling. Ittobori - as Clive is sharing here - is quite a different and difficult skill (this is not to belittle any whittling carvers reading this - I'd struggle to whittle a simple stick man!).
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.

kudan
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Postby kudan » Wed Jan 20, 2016 8:29 am

Clive's tutorial on ittobori is absolutely revelatory and truly fascinating! Clive, thank you for explaining with clarity a form of carving which, I must confess, I knew far less about than I thought I did. It is one thing to recognize a carving as ittobori. That's easy. It's slightly more sophisticated to know that ittobori means, "one-cut;" that's fairly straightforward and books and catalogues are quick to cite that. However, after too many years of being around this stuff, this is the first time I have really understood what the carver of an ittobori netsuke is trying to achieve and why it is incredibly challenging to do well.

An analog to a gem cutter might be helpful. Both skills are almost zen-like in requiring the master to look deep into the material to understand how to use his hands and tools to bring out the hidden beauty of the material itself--almost to be one with the material. That's why these ittobori carvings are carver's carvings. It is the fellow carver who can most readily appreciate the toil and tears that went into producing this type of piece.

Now I can better appreciate the skill and more readily honour the complexity of the task. That said, however, I don't find these carvings beautiful--even the Morita Soko Rabbit on which Clive is so keen--any more than I like Cubist art, Henry Moore sculptures or Jackson Pollack paint dribbles. The easy comparison here is to the ubiquitous Kagetoshi netsuke of a pastoral scene in a grove or pavillion--each so minutely and expertly carved--leaving many a collector with a "wow!" but not with an "I want that!" This is a very personal statement, obviously, but I would be very curious to know who among you actually would seek ittobori carvings to cherish in your collections--not as a curiosity but as a centerpiece. Well, at least now I know why ittobori carvings aren't my cup of tea.

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souldeep
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Postby souldeep » Wed Jan 20, 2016 9:30 am

kudan wrote:Now I can better appreciate the skill and more readily honour the complexity of the task. That said, however, I don't find these carvings beautiful--even the Morita Soko Rabbit on which Clive is so keen--any more than I like Cubist art, Henry Moore sculptures or Jackson Pollack paint dribbles. The easy comparison here is to the ubiquitous Kagetoshi netsuke of a pastoral scene in a grove or pavillion--each so minutely and expertly carved--leaving many a collector with a "wow!" but not with an "I want that!" This is a very personal statement, obviously, but I would be very curious to know who among you actually would seek ittobori carvings to cherish in your collections--not as a curiosity but as a centerpiece. Well, at least now I know why ittobori carvings aren't my cup of tea.


Dear Kudan - welcome back to the forum. Your wisdom is always greatly appreciated by the community.

You make a personal and open appeal and so my response is a personal reply.

Before I move onto what I have quoted from your post I may be misunderstanding one of your earlier statements. I somewhat disagree with the statement regarding a carvers carving (I haven't quoted that above). I rationalise on the basis that the Ittobori school works were of commercial value originally, and today the school continues to carve because there is a strong demand from the public (not carvers) market.

Now onto the quoted opinion you share.

I don't need to tell you this, but for the benefit of where I am coming from, this is art. Thankfully we all appreciate different forms of art (else art would be all the same and unvaried). There are some pieces of art we are initially drawn to with no rationale on the why - it just has an innate appeal. Then there are other areas of art we may initially disregard or see little intrinsic value to. If by accident, or intentionally, we then investigate the techniques and ideas behind the art we can develop an understanding that turns into a deep appreciation of the art form. Clive is providing this education here now to help those that are interested develop at least an understanding of the technical challenges behind this style of carving.

A personal working example of what I mean; With little to no understanding of Surrealism I was drawn to, and fell in love with, works of art by artists such as Dali from a young age. Back then you could have shown me a Monet and found me nonplussed. As my art schooling matured impressionism was part of that education. What came from that study was enlightening - a totally different appreciation of the art form - and so I returned to impressionism with my new eye. Today it is perhaps my favourite of art forms. My appreciation of this style of painting does not of course translate for all. Again art is, as you have posted previously - mainly down to personal taste.

My first Netsuke was a little Ittobori daruma attached to an Inro. The complexity of it's work drove me to want to discover more and in the that journey I arrived here on the forum.

If you've not had the chance the Ittobori thread is well worth reading from beginning to end. On the thread a number of us have referred to it's cubist qualities. For me I value the same abstraction qualities as can be noted in certain styles of painting. Good abstraction requires good artists. Less is more if you will. With Ittobori we see this approach to the object being carved - but with a Japanese dimension included - that love of nature - the presentation of a wonderful piece of wood.

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.

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Oishii
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Postby Oishii » Wed Jan 20, 2016 9:49 am

Well said Kudan and Martyn ...

beyond personal preferences, I understand Kudan's point ...

what would be our choice when we could obtain just one Netsuke and the choice would be between

a very good Nagoya/Osaka/Kyoto piece ... or
a very good Ittobori piece ... ?


Jan

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souldeep
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Postby souldeep » Wed Jan 20, 2016 10:03 am

Oishii wrote:Well said Kudan and Martyn ...

beyond personal preferences, I understand Kudan's point ...

what would be our choice when we could obtain just one Netsuke and the choice would be between

a very good Nagoya/Osaka/Kyoto piece ... or
a very good Ittobori piece ... ?




But we can't abstract or ignore personal preferences can we? If we are going to take that approach then we go with the dealers mentality of what is most popular (fashions which change of course) and financial reasons. But for us as collectors it is exactly that, a personal choice, reflecting our appreciation that we want to add to the collection.

The exercise you present it not totally fair. You put Ittoboti against everything else. Different collectors collect different schools because they have personal preferences.

For example I can say would you prefer a quality Nagoya school piece or a quality Ittobori piece? That evens the odds slightly right? Now I'm not a massive Nagoya school fan - I would pick Ittobori any day of the week. However someone else is a Nagoya school fan - the opposite an easy choice for them.

All this being said - it's the piece that speaks to me - I don't really collect specific schools on purpose. I buy the work - not the school (except when I'm in a study mood for school works).

There is one Ittobori piece in the market now, that if I could afford it, I would desire it above everything else bar one that is also on the market currently.


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.

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souldeep
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Postby souldeep » Wed Jan 20, 2016 12:28 pm

In fact Jan - on reflection I've been rather presumptuous. It's not for me to define a collectors reason(s) for collecting. Take what I've said above as my personal approach. But of course collectors could be doing it for investment for example - then personal preference might not be so important. I guess collectors make up all sorts of types.
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.


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