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Staghorn netsuke subject identification

Discussions, identification and analysis of the different types of Bone and Antler
Gamma
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Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2008 5:22 pm

Postby Gamma » Tue Mar 25, 2008 5:34 pm


Hello to all. I have a small collection of netsuke and inro. If possible I would like information regarding subject and probable age of this netsuke carved from staghorn. It is unsigned. Thanks.
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JimLewis
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Location: Western N.C. (USA)

Postby JimLewis » Tue Mar 25, 2008 6:47 pm

What makes you say it is staghorn? It seems a bit light colored to me.

She sure has big feet![img:28lmy39y]http://forums.netsuke.org/images/boards/smilies/rofl.gif[/img:28lmy39y]

It looks as if it is pre 1900. Where are the holes? Can we see them? And the bottom?

Jim Lewis - lewisjk@alltel.net - Western NC - [font=8]People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician[/font]

Gamma
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Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2008 5:22 pm

Postby Gamma » Tue Mar 25, 2008 7:04 pm


I thought the porous nature of the top and bottom pointed to stag horn rather than an ivory.
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carlysian
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Location: Queensland, Australia

Postby carlysian » Wed Mar 26, 2008 10:18 am

Jim, is it only the lightness which makes you think it might be, say, bone (assumption of ox or ilk here) instead of deer antler? Definitely not elephant or marine ivory anyway, I would have thought.

The squiggly sort of lines on the bottom of the piece remind me of, and make me think it is possibly from, a growth area fairly close to the skull - and not bone which is generally from a limb, for thickness. So I would have concurred with Gamma on antler. (But I am far from an expert on materials! [img:34mzhp7u]http://forums.netsuke.org/images/boards/smilies/crazy.gif[/img:34mzhp7u] )

I like the stovepipe himotoshi and the quality of the piece, given the material. Do you think she is holding a peach (longevity) in the lower hand? I'm not sure from the photos what the other hand is holding - a short staff perhaps or a branch?

Seems to me, as well, that this piece looks to have the feel of a pre-1900 netsuke. Gamma, I like it whatever age it is and whether it is bone or antler.

cheers
Sian


JimLewis
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Location: Western N.C. (USA)

Postby JimLewis » Wed Mar 26, 2008 5:21 pm

[quote:1n9bpm7v]Jim, is it only the lightness which makes you think it might be, say, bone (assumption of ox or ilk here) instead of deer antler? Definitely not elephant or marine ivory anyway, I would have thought.[/quote:1n9bpm7v]

In the first pics it was mostly the lightness. The last two pics, however, say BONE. And, from the wear around the holes, it may be older than I thought. I'd also [u:1n9bpm7v][b:1n9bpm7v]guess[/b:1n9bpm7v][/u:1n9bpm7v] that it was not carved by what we might call a professional.

A pro would have selected better material -- even bone -- and the carving has a few proportion problems -- mostly those feet. :D I could well be wrong there, though.

Jim Lewis - lewisjk@alltel.net - Western NC - [font=8]People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician[/font]

Masitsit
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Joined: Wed Feb 20, 2008 4:04 pm
Location: Colorado

Postby Masitsit » Tue Apr 01, 2008 4:40 pm

If you look closely at the base there is a squiggly line that looks a lot like a skull plate joint.
this could be a horn with a portion of the skull bone attached...I think

JimLewis
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Joined: Sat Feb 10, 2007 6:25 pm
Location: Western N.C. (USA)

Postby JimLewis » Tue Apr 01, 2008 6:09 pm

I dunno. Next time you have a ribeye or T-bone steak, take a saw and cut straight across the bone and you will see much the same structure that you see in this one.

Besides, the walls here are too thick for horn (I think!). Remember deer had to carry these on their heads, so weight was a problem, and the lightest possible weight consistent with some kind of strength would have evolved. Deer often broke their antlers.

I've sawed many a cow horn, and the interior structure is nothing similar -- OR the surface. I have a buffalo horn netsuke and there is NO similarity.

You probably will have to get someone to handle it for you and, if possible, to compare it directly with a piece of deer antler.

Meanwhile, I'll stay with bone -- which is an old and respected netsuke material. And, I could be VERY wrong. :D

Jim Lewis - lewisjk@alltel.net - Western NC - [font=8]People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician[/font]

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chonchon
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Postby chonchon » Wed Apr 02, 2008 5:01 am

I know that deer antler predated ivory in Netsuke history, and that it was also considered 'cleaner' and therefore superior to bone. (Less association with the death of an animal.)

The above pictures are not conclusive. There is bone-like quality there, but the base does look very much like the frilled/ridged base of a deer antler. Without taking it in my hands I cannot say, but my instinct would be to plump for antler.

The carving does not seem to be of any great quality. Quite a folksy piece, IMHO.
Piers

Size is something.

LarryWilkes
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Joined: Tue Jul 15, 2008 8:34 pm
Location: UK

Postby LarryWilkes » Tue Jul 15, 2008 8:47 pm


I don't know if you've resolved this by now but that appears to me to be bone of some sort. As a restorer I've handled most materials and the giveaway with bone is the little dark flecks across the surface. The piece used could have come from the 'knuckle' end of the joint.
LW

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jbjtennyo
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Postby jbjtennyo » Wed Jul 16, 2008 9:10 pm

Hi, jbj here just peaked in to see stag horn, but it is not---it is surely bone. The marrow in the center disintegrates over time, leaving that spongy airy look to the top of her head. I think her Big feet were fashioned from a joint or knuckle. Perhaps the carver liked the look of that part of bone, and tried to make it work as her feet. The natural textures are really nice there, and if he had carved them down to the normal size of foot, he would have lost the hard outer surface as well---That is only a guess, but I am pretty sure it is bone. ---(not that there's anything wrong with that!!!)Also, does the bottom look like a different piece--as though it has been plugged? jbj
Judy


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