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Deer/Monkey embrace - More than a symbiotic relationship?

What subject or legend is depicted in your netsuke or sagemono?
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Re: Deer/Monkey embrace - More than a symbiotic relationship?

Postby neilholton » Tue Feb 14, 2017 4:55 pm

This is a very unusual representation. I think its a candidate for an early netsuke.

I remember reading, I think in a book on Chinese ceramics. Bear in mind, this netsuke was made when the Japanese was influenced heavily by China. The deer has the ability to read the future, the monkey the past...or maybe vice versa. These two animals hold the balance of the present. I also vaguely remember that they must not catch each others eye.

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Re: Deer/Monkey embrace - More than a symbiotic relationship?

Postby carlomagno » Wed Feb 15, 2017 1:46 am

An early representation of Past and future, the past holding the future, not seeing each other but in a perpetual circle, round but balanced if stand, two symbiotic animals, yes I think Neil got it :D :D :D :D :D
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Re: Deer/Monkey embrace - More than a symbiotic relationship?

Postby chonchon » Tue Feb 21, 2017 9:46 am

Never heard that before but every day we can learn something new, often intriguing to contemplate. So much that was known has been lost, and it is wonderful to think we might be rediscovering.

Size is something.

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Re: Deer/Monkey embrace - More than a symbiotic relationship?

Postby Vlad » Sun Feb 26, 2017 11:52 am

The deer/monkey relationship in nature is explainable and mutually beneficial - deer feed of the monkeys dropping fruits and leafs from the trees while alerting them of a possible danger. Monkeys are often seen up on the trees with deer grazing underneath. This natural symbioses often results in mutual trust when monkeys are also seen sitting on the deer's back as if riding it, as they would often be also seen jumping on the head and shoulders of even humans in national parks trying to steel food, where they feel safe and protected. It is also known that animals, even domestic (and monkeys are not exceptions), are often looking for a chance of an intercourse including with other spices. These scenes where certainly frequently seen by people, including carvers, in nature with different interpretations and related legends coming out of those observations.
I have two teeth pieces depicting this type of mutually fruitful relationships between monkeys and deer, and have also come across another netsuke depiction of the two in a Barry Davies book recently.

The unusual and rare way of depicting the two in Martyn's piece is most probably just dictated by the artistic approach used in old manjus of the kind and indicates a rather early piece, as suggested by Neil, in my opinion.
Monkey and Deer.png
Monkey and deer, BD.jpg
Monkey and deer 2.jpg
Monkey and deer.jpg
"Man sieht nur, was man weiß" - "One sees only what one knows". Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)

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