netsuke and sagemono lounge : Disclaimer - Please click anywhere on this bar to expand/contract the content.

Narwhal ivory

Discussions, identification and analysis of the different types of Marine Ivory
User avatar
jbjtennyo
Posts: 3710
Joined: Fri Jun 06, 2008 8:38 pm
Location: USA

Re: Narwhal ivory

Postby jbjtennyo » Thu May 12, 2016 3:08 am

Would love to see it when you have a chance! Sounds nice!
Judy

User avatar
chonchon
Posts: 6878
Joined: Wed May 18, 2005 9:16 am
Location: Japan

Re: Narwhal ivory

Postby chonchon » Thu May 12, 2016 4:28 am

Just took a couple of shots, Judy.

R0012403.JPG


R0012310.JPG


R0012312.JPG
Attachments
R0012401.JPG
Piers

Size is something.

User avatar
chonchon
Posts: 6878
Joined: Wed May 18, 2005 9:16 am
Location: Japan

Re: Narwhal ivory

Postby chonchon » Thu May 12, 2016 4:44 am

The fittings seem to be silver on copper, and the Mon is the Kuginuki 釘抜き or claw-hammer nail-puller design. There was a time when a square of metal was placed over a nail, and levered up in some way to help extract a nail, not at all like a hammer claw to our eyes.

This Kuginuki-in-a-circle (Maru-ni-kuginuki) Mon was used principally by the O-Tawara Daimyo family. Vlad would point out that Yakko retainers on the Sankin-kotai processions to and from Edo would also wear this mark, though not necessarily in a circle.

As is often the case, word play is involved. Kuginuki sounds like Ku-ki-nuki 九城抜き, ie able to pop open, ie cause to fall, nine castles.

箱根 大名行列の図 参勤交代  Hakone, Daimyo Gyoretsu depiction, Sankin Kotai
R0012406.JPG
Last edited by chonchon on Sat May 14, 2016 3:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Piers

Size is something.

User avatar
Clive
Posts: 1787
Joined: Mon Nov 29, 2004 9:52 am
Location: UK

Re: Narwhal ivory

Postby Clive » Thu May 12, 2016 12:37 pm

jbjtennyo wrote:I am certain that I have shown this Narwhal seal netsuke before, but I have taken better images of it, and hope that it might help some who are unfamiliar with the ivory. The shishi seal netsuke was carved with the seal portion showing off the outer edge of the Narwhal. I think this is a mid to late 19C carving that some dodo drilled a pathetic himotoshi in , not understanding that it has a natural himotoshi between the legs! Because of the outside edge of the Narwhal being left intact, it makes identification much easier than it would have been had that been removed. I hope these better images will show true color and textures inside the narwhal.


A lovely piece that shows the character and beauty of Narwhal to great effect Judy. In my opinion it is a good 19th Cen "raw" seal... which much more recently had himotoshi drilled into it. I say "raw" for want of a different word... seals like this would have been carved by a specialist carver.. another crafts-person would generally do the engraving.

User avatar
jbjtennyo
Posts: 3710
Joined: Fri Jun 06, 2008 8:38 pm
Location: USA

Re: Narwhal ivory

Postby jbjtennyo » Thu May 12, 2016 3:51 pm

thank you Clive. I really appreciate your insight, and for posting your opinion of its age. With the drilled himotoshi, although I felt the carving itself older, I would want to know if that wasn't the case. I know you more than most would recognize tool marks that would tell the true story. As I said, I am happy to know it has fallen under your discerning eye and passed the test!
I think i understand your term "raw" as meaning the carving of the seal netsuke was completed, leaving the seal end blank to be added by a different craftsman? I had not realized that. thanks!
Judy

User avatar
jbjtennyo
Posts: 3710
Joined: Fri Jun 06, 2008 8:38 pm
Location: USA

Re: Narwhal ivory

Postby jbjtennyo » Thu May 12, 2016 3:59 pm

Piers, the metal with your narwhal Manju adds such a great contrast in surface and texture! Such a nice representation of narwhal too!
Thank you for your comments regarding my shishi. Iwas lucky it had the outer edge, or I might have passed it by at the time, not understanding it's value because of this rarer material.
Judy

User avatar
DSW90049
Posts: 6364
Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2009 5:19 pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA, USA

Re: Narwhal ivory

Postby DSW90049 » Thu May 12, 2016 4:26 pm

In London, I was shown several Narwhal pieces, and again had the increasingly unique privilege of handling this evolutionary miracle material!

Alas, back home in chokingly politically correct US of A, Narwhal is truly the Trifecta of illegally endangered species material - with utterly no attempt to understand what the concept of ANTIQUE means - one cannot apply today's PC beliefs to past eras. Our coming November election, offering a choice between The Devil & The Deep Blue Sea, will determine whether future collectors in our field will be able to continue to cherish and appreciate this material and so many others, having been lovingly cared for by generations of custodians of antiques, our cultural and artistic history being at stake.
"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

User avatar
chonchon
Posts: 6878
Joined: Wed May 18, 2005 9:16 am
Location: Japan

Re: Narwhal ivory

Postby chonchon » Fri May 13, 2016 12:32 am

David, Amen, David, but hopefully not the last word. (I looked up 'trifecta' in the urban dictionary, by the way, but then wished I hadn't.)

Judy, the narwhal slice above was in a terrible condition when I found it. In a rough attempt to clean the two sides, someone had used a fairly coarse file, but then they must have given up. Rehabilitation took me several hours, but what a beautiful mirror-like surface it polished up to be.

Our ancestors had an appreciation for simple natural beauty, but little did they think that humanity and the planet would come to be in such a confused state.
Last edited by chonchon on Sat May 14, 2016 4:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
Piers

Size is something.

User avatar
DSW90049
Posts: 6364
Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2009 5:19 pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA, USA

Re: Narwhal ivory

Postby DSW90049 » Fri May 13, 2016 2:22 pm

Piers, "Trifecta" is an old horse (& dog) racing term from where I grew up, the Boston of the 50's and 60's - you have to pick winners in three races on a single bet, and then, you win money based on the size of the pot of all bets, sometimes called the 'handle.'

Apologies for the opaque jargon.
"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

User avatar
chonchon
Posts: 6878
Joined: Wed May 18, 2005 9:16 am
Location: Japan

Re: Narwhal ivory

Postby chonchon » Sat May 14, 2016 4:09 am

No apologies needed, David. The meaning was pretty clear from the context, although it was used in the sense of the three seriously bad boys instead of good. :mrgreen: I was just curious to see in how many ways it could be used, but curiosity has been known to kill the cat, on occasion. :lol:

Is there some significance in the beard of your magnificent Shishi, I wonder?
Piers

Size is something.


Return to “Marine Ivory”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests