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Wrongly described netsuke in books, catalogues etc...

What subject or legend is depicted in your netsuke or sagemono?
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Vlad
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Wrongly described netsuke in books, catalogues etc...

Postby Vlad » Sun Oct 16, 2016 2:33 am

-MOD EDIT - This topic was split from the Dancers thread, where Vlad doubted the identification of a piece as a Yamabushi Dancer.
Interesting to see some netsuke descriptions in books questioned - END MOD EDIT.

Vlad wrote:
Oishii wrote:
dancingYamabushi.jpg

Hi Vlad, we get your point about the yamabushi.
Patrizia motivated her identification of this figure as a Dancing Yamabushi as follows :
"The yamabushi, dressed only in a straw skirt and wearing a hachimaki around the head, stands in a dancing pose on one leg. With his right hand he holds the tip of a shakujo (monk's staff) with metal rings and in his left an open fan.
After doing religious practices during spring and autumn, the yamaguchi came down from the mountains in mid-winter to earn a few coins by performing cold ablutions (kangori).
The identification of this subject is based on an illustration in Ehon otogi shina kagami, a book depicting customs in Osaka, published in 1730.
"

Thank you, Jan. I was never good with fairy tales. ..
[/quote]

P.S. The very same book (now that I got to my library finally) calls the following characters sparrow dancers, hakutaku, kikujido, none of which actually are... ;)
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"Man sieht nur, was man weiß" - "One sees only what one knows". Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)

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KPR
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Re: Wrongly described netsuke in books, catalogues etc...

Postby KPR » Sun Oct 16, 2016 7:13 am

"Man sieht nur, was man weiß" - "One sees only what one knows". Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)
Help, I see only a Hakutaku.
Which mythical beast is it in reality and why?
Klaus

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szwang
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Re: Wrongly described netsuke in books, catalogues etc...

Postby szwang » Sun Oct 16, 2016 1:13 pm

I feel it's just a regular seated kirin.

sz

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AFNetsuke
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Re: Wrongly described netsuke in books, catalogues etc...

Postby AFNetsuke » Sun Oct 16, 2016 3:57 pm

Hakutaku have an elongated shishi face, bushy tail, flames, horn and fiercely clawed PAWS. Is this the same piece pictured in Joly and labeled Hakutaku? Kirin have hooves.
Alan

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Vlad
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Re: Wrongly described netsuke in books, catalogues etc...

Postby Vlad » Sun Oct 16, 2016 4:29 pm

Hakutaku have been long time misidentified with kudan by many. Rosemary once had this addressed in the blog on her site. I have also contributed some of the materials to the discussion.

http://www.rosemarybandini.co.uk/kudan-versus-hakutaku/

I also have an article drafted for the journal some time ago for the once started by me column "Challenging the "obvious" , but did not publish it for some technical/pseudo-copyright issues. Here meanwhile are a few relevant parts from it related to shishi/komainu. Maybe I will publish it in full on this site one day...

"Hakutaku and Komainu – two “little brothers” of the famouse celebrities. Or are they?


We all seem to know everything there is to know about the ShiShi, the Kirin and the Kudan. There are books and articles written about their appearance and origins. But what about the other two – Hakutaku and Komainu? What do we know about them and their relationship to their famous “relatives”?...

...The Shishi statues are always presented in pairs. According to feng shui, when facing the entrance the male lion with the globe should be placed on the right with the female on the left.
The male lion has his right paw on a ball, which represents the "Flower of life" The female is essentially identical, but has a single cub under her left paw, representing the cycle of life. Symbolically, the female fu lion protects those dwelling inside, while the male guards the structure. Sometimes the female has her mouth closed, and the male open, which symbolizes the enunciation of the sacred words "om" and “um” respectively. That is, they are in the form of A-hum, demonstrating the spirit of Confucianism. Au-hum means that one of a pair can understand what or how the other thinks or feels without hearing any words....

...Interestingly, the lion is not indigenous to China however Asiatic lions were quite common in neighboring India then. These Asiatic lions found in nearby India are the ones depicted in the Chinese culture. When Buddhist priests, or possibly traders, brought stories to China about stone Asiatic / Indian lions guarding the entry to Indian Buddhist temples, Chinese sculptors modeled statues after native dogs for use outside their temples as nobody in China had ever seen a real lion before. The mythic version of the animal, was known as the Lion of Fo, the word Fo 佛 being Chinese for Buddha. The Chinese word for lion is "Shi" which was adopted from their Sanskrit name "Sinh" in the neighboring India.
The mythic Lion is sometimes associated with feng shui, and are often called Fu Lions. Fu means 'happiness' in Chinese; however, the term "Fu Lion," and its variant Foo Lion, are not used in Chinese. Instead, they are known as Rui Shi or simply Shi .

So where and when does the Koma Inu come into play?

Checking with Joly:

“The mystic animals are also embodiments of the Yin and Yang doctrine of
Chinese philosophy; besides the Chinese Lion or Karashishi (q.v.), the monster
most often represented as a Temple guardian is the Korean dog : Kama Inu,
with two horns, and sometimes the Tama on its head, but lacking the curly
mane and tail of the Karashishi, which are replaced by straighter and less
ornamental appendages.”

Here is what we find in the “Kimpisho kochu by Emperor of Japan Juntoku”, 1952, Meiji Tosho Shuppan (Tokyo) by Kissen Muta:

“Shishi (lion in Sanscrit), Fo Dog - A lion with an open mouth and a tama in it. It has a horn.
Koma Inu (Korean dog) - Closed mouth and a single flat horn.
By the time they reached Japan in the Heian period (794-1185) they were both called Shishi.”

And from Wikipedia:

"In Japan the lion figures are known as Komainu (狛犬・高麗犬, Korean dogs) possibly due to their introduction to Japan through Korea.”

Joly has also indicated that there were shishi depicted with one or even two horns, partaking of the appearance of the Kirin. But Kirins have the body of a deer and hoofs instead of paws...

A prominent netsuke collector Guido Shiller, who long time lived in China, had suggested to me once, that he has realized, that the horn of the Japanese Shishi, which made them look like a different beast requiring a different name was nothing but a piece of the Shishi's mane in a form of a fearsome flame early on. During my travel across China and Thailand I have see a number of those myself...

Interestingly enough, Joly does not provide even one word of description for neither the Hakutaku, nor the Koma Inu in his work…


Here are some pictures from my travels to illustrate the point:

New Picture (1).png

Kyoto, Emperor Palace, 2009

New Picture (2).png
New Picture (3).png

Kyoto, Yasaka shrine, 2009

New Picture (4).png
New Picture (5).png

LACMA, 15-16 century


New Picture (7).png
New Picture (6).png

Thailand, 2010


New Picture (8).png

Forbidden City, Beijing, China, 2011


Bottom line, I believe this one is just a horned shishi. 8-)
"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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Re: Wrongly described netsuke in books, catalogues etc...

Postby DSW90049 » Sun Oct 16, 2016 5:16 pm

Vlad, most interesting!
Please consider either completing your article for the INS Journal, or as original content which the Mod Team could consider to publish here. Also, the specific content concerning differing depictions of a Kudan vs. a Hakutaku would make a good thread in intself.

The fascinating thing about debating about what mythical creatures looked like is that the interpretations, right and wrong, abound because . . . well . . . they were mythical. . . .

British Museum ivory netsuke of a Kudan several views:

http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/c ... tid=773351

Museum of Fine Arts' print of a Hakutaku:

http://mfas3.s3.amazonaws.com/objects/SC138258.jpg
"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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Vlad
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Re: Wrongly described netsuke in books, catalogues etc...

Postby Vlad » Sun Oct 16, 2016 5:44 pm

Thank you, David. I will be happy to submit here after Martyn manages to publish the already previously sent to him one on the Road Porter subject.
Journal is out of question for now. Linda doesn't accept pictures from the Internet sources and requires obtaining permissions to publish ones from the literature. Ridiculous really for an education media, especially published by a non-profit organization, as our INSJ is... :cry:
"Man sieht nur, was man weiß" - "One sees only what one knows". Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)

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lmallier
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Re: Wrongly described netsuke in books, catalogues etc...

Postby lmallier » Mon Oct 17, 2016 7:40 am

Vlad wrote:Thank you, David. I will be happy to submit here after Martyn manages to publish the already previously sent to him one on the Road Porter subject.
Journal is out of question for now. Linda doesn't accept pictures from the Internet sources and requires obtaining permissions to publish ones from the literature. Ridiculous really for an education media, especially published by a non-profit organization, as our INSJ is... :cry:

+1
Some very interesting articles have to be unleashed and released for our community.

Louis
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Oishii
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Re: Wrongly described netsuke in books, catalogues etc...

Postby Oishii » Mon Oct 24, 2016 7:08 am

This recent listing goes to show that finding the subject of netsuke is not always easy for people not in the field / not having resources. ;)
Quiz for our new(er) members : What would be the right subject of this piece ?
Screen Shot 2016-10-24 at 08.58.50.png
Jan

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NetsukeManiac
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Re: Wrongly described netsuke in books, catalogues etc...

Postby NetsukeManiac » Mon Oct 24, 2016 7:38 am

xxx
Last edited by NetsukeManiac on Sun Jan 29, 2017 5:13 am, edited 1 time in total.


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