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On a blind date?

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souldeep
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Re: On a blind date?

Postby souldeep » Tue Aug 15, 2017 4:48 pm

neilholton wrote:We have two rats. I think today/yesteryear they might have been described as late 18th Century or certainly of similar age. I think I would suggest that perhaps the same school made them but they display a significant difference in age, enough to suggest a generation of difference.

Let us say for argument sake, the unsigned version is 18th Century. How old does that make the signed?

Ok I'll bite. I guess you want us to list properties we would use to age these examples. I'll start with the Rat.

I predominately use material age. Everything stems from that for me (I put the jigsaw together over the top).

With the second rat the material has developed a much deeper patina. Putting wear aside (which is only an indication of use at best), the material looks much older.

Building on top of the idea of using the lowest common denominator (examples elsewhere in art of Ivory that does have exact documented age). When I look at other examples of ivory, that shares similar material characteristics - I then observe the carving work and techniques. This allows me to build on top of the material basis, an idea of carving styles from different periods (it's only an idea because later works copy older carving styles).

Then the styles AND the ivory ages have to match for me to say something is early, mid or late 18th/19thC.

So on that basis the first rat you shared is a good candidate for mid (or even late) 19thC.

I have however - as you know Neil - been challenged on my ageing of material. Not so long ago I said something seemed to me to be early 19thC in material, although the subject and carving style seemed earlier. Experts felt it could be a much earlier candidate. As always the more you see and handle, the more examples you have to work with in the head.

In all of this I don't forget our netsuke forefathers. Those netsuke pioneers that without reference books catalogued and aged netsuke. How did they do this? I don't know - but as we've received more knowledge and cross references (mainly thanks to the pioneers) we can see clear contradictions which means they couldn't all be right. So although I don't take these references as gospel, I do treat them with reverence.

I guess what this all boils down to for me, is that I place my faith, and build knowledge around, a core that all stems from material age.

Is this the type of explanation you are looking for?

To answer your specific question posed above - and all examples of material age matched the unsigned 18thC rat (so I shifted back all examples I currently have in mind, 100 years or so) - the unsigned rat would based on my adjusted criteria would be a 17th century or earlier.
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.

neilholton
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Re: On a blind date?

Postby neilholton » Tue Aug 15, 2017 5:29 pm

Perfect Martyn. Not that I agree with all that you say, but I personally like the way you have asked the NETSUKE to answer the aging question.

One thing I would say. If the unsigned Rat was made in the last half of the 19th Century, that means its about as old as a Rantei Rat or Contemporary to a Tomochika okimono-esque netsuke and that doesn't seem quite right.

But that aside, I do see at least a generation of difference between the age of these two rats, I also see a relationship stylistically. I guess what I am trying to challenge is this Late 18th Century pigeon hole which I think is based solely on the release date of the Soken Kisho which was 1781, IE. Late 18th Century.

Personally I think the signed Rat is older than L.18th Century, perhaps much older.

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Re: On a blind date?

Postby neilholton » Tue Aug 15, 2017 5:39 pm

souldeep wrote:
In all of this I don't forget our netsuke forefathers. Those netsuke pioneers that without reference books catalogued and aged netsuke. How did they do this? I don't know - but as we've received more knowledge and cross references (mainly thanks to the pioneers) we can see clear contradictions which means they couldn't all be right. So although I don't take these references as gospel, I do treat them with reverence.


I certainly don't want to belittle what the books say, the information for which was collected and collated in a very different time than I am lucky enough to live in now. Books are great, I read netsuke books virtually constantly. What I hope will be interesting and fun is to look at netsuke that we all own and ask a few more questions regarding their age, which in lots of cases I actually believe are older than we think.

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souldeep
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Re: On a blind date?

Postby souldeep » Tue Aug 15, 2017 5:41 pm

neilholton wrote:One thing I would say. If the unsigned Rat was made in the last half of the 19th Century, that means its about as old as a Rantei Rat or Contemporary to a Tomochika okimono-esque netsuke and that doesn't seem quite right.

Yes - I bracketed (or even late). It was a caveat for the reason that you may just find the material age, and even the the style, in that period.

A Rantei rat - interesting comparison against the unsigned rat you posted;
H0011-L45864280.jpg

Looking at the two side by side I do see the unsigned example you posted as earlier.

To help me learn (it's quite likely others already see what I'm failing to see) - could you list your properties that differentiate the age between the unsigned, and Rantei, rats?
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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Re: On a blind date?

Postby souldeep » Tue Aug 15, 2017 5:43 pm

neilholton wrote:
souldeep wrote:
In all of this I don't forget our netsuke forefathers. Those netsuke pioneers that without reference books catalogued and aged netsuke. How did they do this? I don't know - but as we've received more knowledge and cross references (mainly thanks to the pioneers) we can see clear contradictions which means they couldn't all be right. So although I don't take these references as gospel, I do treat them with reverence.


I certainly don't want to belittle what the books say, the information for which was collected and collated in a very different time than I am lucky enough to live in now. Books are great, I read netsuke books virtually constantly. What I hope will be interesting and fun is to look at netsuke that we all own and ask a few more questions regarding their age, which in lots of cases I actually believe are older than we think.

Sorry Neil - I posted what I think personally in reply to your question - that was in no way meant as an assumption on what others think, or how you view the pioneers. My apologies for being unclear :D
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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jbjtennyo
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Re: On a blind date?

Postby jbjtennyo » Tue Aug 15, 2017 10:45 pm

I am not convinced that the two Mitsuharu goats are the same carver. First of all the bottom of the seated goat is just - not -quite - what I would expect in the hair etching category--it looks stiff, doesn't have the good movement you would expect of Mitsuharu, and it just looks newer to me. The other inconsistency is the stain. That dark stain seems to be a later attribute too, and I just feel --excuse me - that sitting goat is "telling me" that he is younger than the standing example. The standing example seems superior and older.

Which brings me to another concern. I have often said that we need to be honest with ourselves as to what the netsuke are telling us about their carver and their age--but I think a lot of collectors want to believe what they have been originally told, and what in most cases, they paid for.. How can we be sure we don't destroy the value of a collection by rethinking the age and real carver?
Judy

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souldeep
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Re: On a blind date?

Postby souldeep » Thu Aug 17, 2017 2:20 pm

jbjtennyo wrote:Which brings me to another concern. I have often said that we need to be honest with ourselves as to what the netsuke are telling us about their carver and their age--but I think a lot of collectors want to believe what they have been originally told, and what in most cases, they paid for.. How can we be sure we don't destroy the value of a collection by rethinking the age and real carver?

Judy - the tumble weed that just passed this thread might evidence your point?

This being said I still believe the majority of the contributing forum community strive for truth, to learn, not for a like contest. This is evident in some wonderful contributions we've seen from the community the past few weeks. Let's see if any other members come along and show interest, given time :)
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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