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Yellowing of Elephant Ivory...

Discussions and analysis of Elephant Ivory
fkc
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Postby fkc » Sat Oct 01, 2011 3:17 pm

I would advise against any cleaning of yellowed ivory netsuke with lemon or muriatic acid. Both will eat into the surface of the material, weakening it and destroying any patina and will certainly bleach out any intended staining.

Sometimes the yellowing is wear; sometimes, as Vlad said, it's from the difference in layers of the tusk itself. Leave the yellowing as it is; it's part of the piece's history.
Freda http://fiedesigns.blogspot.com/

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DSW90049
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Postby DSW90049 » Sat Oct 01, 2011 7:17 pm

Freda, I only posted that bit about cleaning with lemon because I thought it was funny at the time - I was not suggesting (& please don't try it!!!) that any netsuke collector in their right mind would actually take a fine, aged ivory netsuke and do it.

So, kids, please don't try this at home!!!!;)

"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

Norman
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Postby Norman » Thu Oct 06, 2011 2:29 pm

At the risk of having missed something here, I disagree with this as being the relevant issue: "The component parts of ivory being the same as those of bones." While there might be some correct chemical science behind that, I do not believe it applies to the fairly common two-tone colors seen on ivory. I believe a comparison with wood would be more accurate. Look down at full slices of various ivories and of woods and you will see a ring around the outer edge showing color differences between the large more compact inner core and the newer, less compact/less dense outer ring. The less dense outer ring oxidizes and absorbs the oils from our hands more easily. You will see this on most triangular netsuke where one side (usually the back side) is the outer part of the tusk, and that is almost always the yellower side. Tried to Google for science here, but found nothing helpful easily.
Norman L. Sandfield

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AFNetsuke
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Postby AFNetsuke » Fri Oct 07, 2011 5:14 pm


Vlad, if all I saw was the middle photo of your manju (the back) I most certainly would have assumed it was stag antler. The other two photos though identify it as elephant ivory.
Alan

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Vlad
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Postby Vlad » Fri Oct 07, 2011 6:00 pm


Yes, Alan. I found it quite unusual to have an almost untouched surface of the proximal part of the elephant tusk (from under the skin) not only to be preserved, but actually to be used to the benefit of the piece.
"Man sieht nur, was man weiß" - "One sees only what one knows". Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)

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DSW90049
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Postby DSW90049 » Fri Oct 07, 2011 6:13 pm

Vlad, that's what makes your elephant ivory manju so special!

I imagine that material is trimmed off in most ivory netsuke with which we are familiar. [i:v8fut3d8]It is quite educational, therefore, to see it
- most of us never having carved up an elephant's tusk before . . . .
- well, at least I haven't . . . [img:v8fut3d8]http://netsuke.websitetoolbox.com/images/boards/smilies/cool.gif[/img:v8fut3d8]
[/i:v8fut3d8]
"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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neilholton
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Postby neilholton » Thu Oct 13, 2011 10:23 am


Masatoshi’s book, the art of the Netsuke carver is very good for answering Q’s on how a netsuke comes to be, I’m sure I read the outer more porous part of the tusk is used for the back to induce a variance in color over time. As mentioned previously Clive would be a great guy to ask. Ivory like all the natural materials netsuke are made from reacts to conditions in a variety of ways. I too have heard that the silk color of the Kimono has an effect on the surface color of the netsuke, but I don’t know the science behind this. From experience handling does have an effect. At all times I keep a netsuke in my pocket, at the moment it’s a Yoshi-studio hare that was filthy when I first got it a week ago, now its gleaming….and one side has a mellow yellowish color the other a creamy white.



I like the K&J manju Vlad, I had one similar from the Bushell collection with the same flamboyant border, it reminds me of a gilt frame surrounding a picture.



Cheers

Neil






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