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

Proverb and Allusion

What subject or legend is depicted in your netsuke or sagemono?
User avatar
chonchon
Posts: 6675
Joined: Wed May 18, 2005 9:16 am
Location: Japan

Re: Proverb and Allusion

Postby chonchon » Sat Jan 13, 2018 12:45 pm

Quick answers from these shots, anyone? (The third aspect cannot be told from these.)

2677CF22-23CB-47C8-9E13-FD0FBBA6DD7B.jpeg


E0E42AB4-5A26-4AB7-B18A-EA345DD2E7EC.jpeg
Piers

Size is something.

User avatar
chonchon
Posts: 6675
Joined: Wed May 18, 2005 9:16 am
Location: Japan

Re: Proverb and Allusion

Postby chonchon » Sat Jan 13, 2018 12:58 pm

Then I noticed a design on the surface, almost completely rubbed away. What can we see? (I have tried to focus so the answer, or the clues, can be clearly seen.) 8-)

297DEBBF-9E79-4A68-9D08-FA4D1A77F226.jpeg


21C8F2F0-E226-4B98-ADEB-3B50EB59F58B.jpeg
Last edited by chonchon on Sat Jan 13, 2018 1:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Piers

Size is something.

User avatar
tanukisan
Posts: 532
Joined: Mon Mar 17, 2014 3:30 pm
Location: Solihull , West Midlands

Re: Proverb and Allusion

Postby tanukisan » Sat Jan 13, 2018 1:15 pm

I am more familiar with a partly open clam - the clam's dream or a courtier with the end his fundoshi trapped in a closed giant clam. From the first pictures I wondered if the closed clam alluded to Japan itself under the Shogunate which was almost totally cut off from the world outside and imposed travel restrictions on its citizens, within and outwith the country.
The further pictures suggest to me the tale of Aladdin and the genie in the bottle, or in this case the clamshell.
Am I close or way off in my deductions Piers?

John 


User avatar
chonchon
Posts: 6675
Joined: Wed May 18, 2005 9:16 am
Location: Japan

Re: Proverb and Allusion

Postby chonchon » Sat Jan 13, 2018 1:46 pm

Haha John, yes, well first things first I guess. To us a shell may be an object of contemplation, observed perhaps with an artistic or scientific eye.
To a Japanese a shell is probably first and foremost food, something to eat. Vast mounds of empty shells can be found in archaeological sites around the ancient coastlines.
Then there is Venus rising from the bivalve. Or not.
To many Japanese the shellfish is the closest thing to the female genitalia, making this Netsuke at once both food and sex.

And then we get to the stories. Perhaps I should stop here and see if anyone else would like to wade in?
Piers

Size is something.

User avatar
chonchon
Posts: 6675
Joined: Wed May 18, 2005 9:16 am
Location: Japan

Re: Proverb and Allusion

Postby chonchon » Sun Jan 14, 2018 1:37 am

John mentions open or closed, particularly the clam closed on the fundoshi loincloth of the guy who is trying to escape. In that case I guess it would be a comment on a particular kind of M/F human relationship. And yes, most 'clam dreams' show pavilions and people inside the open clam's mouth. We have touched on the clam's dream before.

The old legend in Asia, along the coasts of China and in the fishing communities of the off-lying islands of Formosa and Japan surrounded the mirages that would appear on the horizon. Within the shimmering floating shape of no substance could sometimes be seen the towers of towns and cities. The explanation was that this was the dream of a giant clam. I guess it would have to be huge clam to have such an enormous dream. As the clam breathed, its breath spirit would leak from its shell. The story is encapsulated in the name for a 'mirage'. 蜃気楼 'Shinkiro' in Japanese, literally 'Clam breath tower(s)'. A check with the modern Chinese dictionary brings up two versions, 蜃景 Shen jing or 'Clam view/scene/spectacle', and 海市蜃楼 hǎi shì shèn lóu or 'Sea city clam towers'.

Some years ago I showed a manju Netsuke here with the story of Urashima Taro on the front. On the reverse was carved a clam, and a castle gate within the spiral rising from its mouth. The suggestion was that the 'Ryugujo' city under the sea that Urashima Taro visited was indeed the dream city of the clam. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ry%C5%ABg%C5%AB-j%C5%8D
Anyway, as we know, much of Japan works by suggestion, so the carving on the upper lid of the Netsuke presented here above only needs a glimpse of the corner of a tower hidden in spirals to set us on track. The spiral clouds (usually a hint of some conection to the gods or the supernatural) can be seen issuing from the closed lips of the clam. They also strangely resemble the 霊芝 Reishi fungus, which too may be hidden within the allusion/illusion for good measure...
Piers

Size is something.

User avatar
AFNetsuke
Posts: 6110
Joined: Wed Dec 10, 2008 12:14 am
Location: Central California coast, USA

Re: Proverb and Allusion

Postby AFNetsuke » Sun Jan 14, 2018 4:43 am

In spite of seeing the tower and spiraling clouds engraved on the clam, I just failed at connecting all the dots, Piers. Thanks once again for presenting an entertaining glimpse into old Japan.
Alan

User avatar
chonchon
Posts: 6675
Joined: Wed May 18, 2005 9:16 am
Location: Japan

Re: Proverb and Allusion

Postby chonchon » Sun Jan 14, 2018 8:24 am

Alan, you are kind to say so. Much appreciated. :)
Piers

Size is something.

User avatar
tanukisan
Posts: 532
Joined: Mon Mar 17, 2014 3:30 pm
Location: Solihull , West Midlands

Re: Proverb and Allusion

Postby tanukisan » Sun Jan 14, 2018 1:11 pm

A big thank you for your insight and the effort you put in to this forum Piers. I hope others can be encouraged to put in their contributions to keep this highly interesting and educative thread going!

John 


User avatar
chonchon
Posts: 6675
Joined: Wed May 18, 2005 9:16 am
Location: Japan

Re: Proverb and Allusion

Postby chonchon » Sun Jan 14, 2018 1:18 pm

I sincerely hope so too John!
Piers

Size is something.

User avatar
Nio
Posts: 88
Joined: Tue Feb 11, 2014 8:11 am
Location: Australia

Re: Proverb and Allusion

Postby Nio » Mon Jan 15, 2018 7:10 am

frogs on lotus 3.jpg
foxy.JPG


foxy.JPG[/attachment]

A cacophony of frogs, Dragon on a scroll and fox priest all have allusions. Comments and opinions............
Attachments
drag 3.JPG
Nio " I never learn anything from listening to myself "


Return to “Subjects & Legends in Japanese Art”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest