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Proverb and Allusion

What subject or legend is depicted in your netsuke or sagemono?
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Re: Proverb and Allusion

Postby chonchon » Mon Jan 15, 2018 7:39 am

Hmmm... nowadays when I see Japanese foxes I remember reading Yoshikawa Eiji's wonderful novel "The Heike Story", and in it the presence of the fox spirits flitting around the fields. And I remember the grounds of Jinja shrines with with a corner somewhere and a little altar to the fox god. And I remember that foxes and badgers are said to be able to take on human form.

And this thread comes to mind: ... d-forging/

Size is something.

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Re: Proverb and Allusion

Postby tanukisan » Mon Jan 15, 2018 9:34 am

'A cacophony of frogs'

Extract from T Volker's The Animal in Far Eastern Art:

After his abdication the emperor Go-Toba retired to a country house at Amagori. In the gardens there was a pond wherein many frogs used to make a lot of noise. But since the year 1230 the frogs in the pond of this country house are silent. Go- Toba had been annoyed by their croaking and had ordered them to stop it.

Netsuke with a frog or frogs seated on a lotus leaf or frogs in a pond allude to this imperial anecdote.

(Despite the limits on his political powers Go-Toba developed skills as a calligrapher, painter, musician, poet, critic,and editor, although the majority of his activities took place after his abdication aged 18 (as the abdication freed him from 'the ceremonial prison of the imperial palace'
Besides his enthusiasm for archery, equestrianism, and swordsmanship, Go-Toba was a great lover of swords themselves, and over the course of several years summoned the most talented swordsmiths in the land to his court where they were given honorary titles and invited to teach the emperor their craft. He became a respectable swordsmith himself, and it was his patronage and encouragement of this art that gave birth to Japan's 'Golden Age' of bladesmithing).


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Re: Proverb and Allusion

Postby Nio » Wed Jan 17, 2018 1:44 am

The dragon on a scroll I believe may be an allusion to the yellow dragon that is the most honored of the dragon family. The Chinese attribute the origin of their whole writing system to the yellow dragon who presented to Fuh Hi a scroll inscribed with mystical characters as the sage was gazing upon the waters of the yellow river.
A dragon also personifies the male principle and is associated with the wind rain and cloud. As it is responsible for spring rain which makes seeds sprout it also personifies the eternal renewal of the universe and the mysterious regenerative powers of creation.
Nio " I never learn anything from listening to myself "

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