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Antler Ryusa of a Rat

Discussions, identification and analysis of the different types of Bone and Antler
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Tsunuki
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Location: Southern California

Antler Ryusa of a Rat

Postby Tsunuki » Wed May 04, 2016 8:16 am

EDIT: Note, these first few posts were moved over from the "Kichibei (or Yoshibei) Netsuke-Shi" topic (http://forums.netsuke.org/viewtopic.php?f=494804&t=8077135#p59825)

Sorry, this is off topic, but I'd like to thank Jill for posting that scan of "Masterpieces of Netsuke Art". Image #40, of the stag antler rat, appears to carved by the same artist as a rat ryusa I received earlier today. I'm glad to know my new addition might be related to a "Masterpiece"! And now I have a new book that I need to add to my collection.
IMG_2256 - Copy.JPG
Thanks again!
Last edited by Tsunuki on Tue May 10, 2016 4:49 am, edited 2 times in total.
Ryan Snooks

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Tama
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Re: Kichibei (or Yoshibei) Netsuke-Shi

Postby Tama » Wed May 04, 2016 10:27 am

Lovely rat Ryan. #40 is Clive's avatar. So you are in good company!

Please give us more views?!

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Tsunuki
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Location: Southern California

Re: Kichibei (or Yoshibei) Netsuke-Shi

Postby Tsunuki » Fri May 06, 2016 8:22 am

Thanks! I'd completely missed that it was his avatar, that's a pretty good coincidence. Anyways, here's some more views:
Attachments
5IMG_7920.JPG
4IMG_7907.JPG
3IMG_7913.JPG
2IMG_7904.JPG
1IMG_7911.JPG
Last edited by Tsunuki on Sun May 08, 2016 6:08 am, edited 2 times in total.
Ryan Snooks

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jbjtennyo
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Re: RAT RYUSA

Postby jbjtennyo » Fri May 06, 2016 12:33 pm

Ryan, I am glad that you are pleased with your stag antler ryusa. There have been many netsuke carved from stag antler, some more successful than others. The ideal scenario is to make good use of the colors and textures that are present in stag antler to enhance the artistry of the carving. While the material and the subject matter are similar, there is no reason to assume that your ryusa was carved by the same artist that carved the one shown in Jill's original post. As you can see from this large image I have attached, there was no attempt to create a hair detail, rather the carver let the texture of the stag create an illusion of hair. The nut that your rat is chewing is handled in a very simplistic way, the carver missing the chance to elaborate on on some fine detail as in of the illustrated ryusa from the Virginia Atchley collection. I think if you place the two side by side, you would see the differences not only in carving style, but in quality and use of the material. Clive could address this better than I, and he may. Currently he is at the convention in London, so it might be a while. In the mean time, I am attaching an image of the stag antler netsuke as it is illustrated in V Archley's book "Collection of Japanese Miniature Arts". I hope this helps you work through your comparison
Happy Hunting!
Attachments
IMG_5316.jpg
IMG_5317.jpg
Judy

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Tsunuki
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Re: RAT RYUSA

Postby Tsunuki » Tue May 10, 2016 4:44 am

Thanks for moving these posts over, Judy. I agree with your assessment, now that I see a larger photo the detail on mine is clearly not so fine (especially evident at the feet), nor is the shape as compact and pleasing. And as you mentioned, the Kokusai example cleverly uses the darker porous antler to represent the fur (and arguably the shadows), while with mine the fur was carved because almost the entire netsuke is made of porous antler, except for the fish head and some of the underside.

Regardless of the carver, I am still quite pleased with mine, as the detail is fairly good despite the rough material that was used, the rat is lifelike, and it was a bargain price for a ryusa style carving.

I missed giving a description earlier, so here goes... My unsigned antler ryusa measures 2.27" x 1.8" x 0.85", and depicts a rat sitting between a discarded sacred straw rope (shimenawa) and a fish head. The himotoshi is formed on the underside by gap between a small branch and a leaf. The eyes appear to be inlaid horn. The netsuke appears to have some repaired damage to the base of the tail, and some damage to the left eye.
Ryan Snooks

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AFNetsuke
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Re: Antler Ryusa of a Rat

Postby AFNetsuke » Tue May 10, 2016 6:15 am

Ryan, I am not familiar with the term shimenawa. Could you elaborate on that? Perhaps a minor detail but a "sacred straw rope" sounds intriguing.
Alan

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Tsunuki
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Re: Antler Ryusa of a Rat

Postby Tsunuki » Tue May 10, 2016 8:39 am

In the Shinto religion, the shimenawa is the rice straw rope that indicates a sacred space or object, such as a the boundary of a shrine, or wrapped around a tree or stone. Often they'll have strips of white paper (shime) hanging from them. I wouldn't have known what it was called, except that I picked up the book, 'Mingei: Japan's Enduring Folk Arts', last weekend, and it included an entry on them (see attached for a scan).
Scan2.jpg

IMG_0003.JPG

Now that I've researched that a bit, I think I've started to piece together the rest of this netsuke. The fish head is likely representative of a discarded shinsen (food offering), with fish being considered the most important of the food offerings. The branch with a leaf is likely representative of a discarded tamagushi (offering of a decorated sakaki tree branch). The rat might be a reference to Daikoku, a reference to the year of the rat (plausible since the other items are indicative of the New Year), or just a rat.
Image
Votive offering of the Shinto,Katori-jingu,Katori-city,Japan [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], by katorisi (Own work), from Wikimedia Commons
Ryan Snooks

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AFNetsuke
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Re: Antler Ryusa of a Rat

Postby AFNetsuke » Tue May 10, 2016 4:38 pm

Arrrrrgh! I knew that somewhere in the back of my brain. Your interpretation of the netsuke now makes perfect sense.
Alan

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jbjtennyo
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Re: Antler Ryusa of a Rat

Postby jbjtennyo » Tue May 10, 2016 6:39 pm

Ryan, I agree with Alan, in that your description of this netsuke makes it come alive, and it also gives it due importance that the carver instilled on it with his thoughtful composition.
It may not be a masterpiece, but this kind of information is what I love about netsuke--discovering what the carver was communicating through his carving is a gift that adds a value that cannot be measured. Congrats on your research and findings!
Judy


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