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material of shell netsuke with whorls?

Discussions and analysis of Elephant Ivory
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Bakurae
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Postby Bakurae » Sat Jan 23, 2016 2:11 pm

In the midst of the east coast blizzard, I finally have time to post these questions. Would anyone have a guess at the material of this well-worn netsuke of three shells? There are no Shraeger lines I can find; there's a honey-colored spot on the middle shell on one side, and a whorl on the other, perhaps enlisted by the carver to suggest the pattern of ridges on a clam shell. Next to it is a tiny black hole--I can't tell whether it was there in the material or introduced as part of the design. In the latter case, why?

Suggestions welcome!


8-) 8-)
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Alison

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Clive
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Postby Clive » Sat Jan 23, 2016 2:18 pm

Good quality close ups would greatly assist in determining the type of ivory Alison, but it looks like elephant. 

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Bakurae
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Postby Bakurae » Sat Jan 23, 2016 2:26 pm

Thanks, Clive, I'll try for some better photos. Any thoughts or comparisons re the whorl, or the hole?
Back eventually,


Alison

GiantSquid
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Postby GiantSquid » Sat Jan 23, 2016 2:42 pm

The colour/ patterns are inherent in the material and therefore very likely ivory. Nice thing. Schreger lines only readily showup on some planes, usually across the material. Alternative is marine ivory, but as Clive has already said most probably elephant.

Richard
"The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones." John Maynard Keynes, 1883 - 1946

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jbjtennyo
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Postby jbjtennyo » Sat Jan 23, 2016 4:59 pm

Hi Alison, I like your shell group. I am sure Klaus would say that the two that are alive suggest a shunga reference.
As to the little hole, I am not sure this is the case==but if it was added, and not a characteristic of the original piece of ivory. There is a sea life (and I can't remember what it is-- that thrives on the creature inside the shell. Since the critter inside the shell closes it to protect himself, the aggressor sea life attaches himself to the outside of the shell, then drops a substance onto the shell which is like acid, and it eats through the shell finally so that he can suck the meat out. I will look it up to provide a better explanation, but in the mean time, here is an image of one of my shells that illustrates the results of the acid. I find these shells all the time on the beach, on the thinnest and smaller of shells- perfect little circles that provided a feeding opportunity for some creature a little further up the food chain!
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Judy

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Bakurae
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Postby Bakurae » Sat Jan 23, 2016 5:09 pm


Thanks, all. Judy, that is a fascinating suggestion. I'll try to take new photos that might help show whether the hole is natural or added. At the moment I can't get to the netsuke to rephotograph it, but will try to do that soon.

Alison

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jbjtennyo
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Postby jbjtennyo » Sat Jan 23, 2016 5:10 pm



Image
Food: This snail is one of the top predators of the intertidal environment. Chief among the moon snail's preferred foods are clams. The snail surrounds the clam with its foot, then drills into the clam shell with a radula, which is covered in tooth-like rasps. Weak acids also are excreted onto the shell, hastening the drilling process. Once the characteristic hole is made, near the clam's hinge, the snail injects digestive enzymes into the clam. When ready, the snail scrapes and sucks out the meat from the clam, leaving an empty clam shell behind. An adult moon snail can eat a clam every 4 days.
Judy

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Postby Tengu » Sat Jan 23, 2016 5:22 pm


Judy, I had spontaneously the same two ideas.
The Shunga and the empty suckes mussel.

These groups are often found a corresponding material. Sea live from Marine Ivory (fish teeth)

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Bakurae
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Postby Bakurae » Sat Jan 23, 2016 6:27 pm


The subject and elongated composition had also made me wonder if ithe shell trio might be carved from a marine tooth or tusk. But some of the attached new photos, though still not the greatest, bring out what seem to be Shreger lines.


8-) 8-) 8-) 8-)
Attachments
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Alison

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jbjtennyo
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Postby jbjtennyo » Sat Jan 23, 2016 6:47 pm

Alison, your new images have a suggestion of the grain. If you HAD some sun or a strong art light, you could angle it until the grain reflected the light better and take an image. I generally crop in then to have a closer look, and play with the contrast on edit mode of your photo program. and then perhaps they would show off more.Klaus, I was sure I heard you say "Shunga" when you saw this netsuke. Glad you also had the though regarding the drilled hole in the clam shell. Would there be any other shunga type reference that you see in this netsuke? (other than the obvious two live shells)
Judy


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