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Subject Quiz

What subject or legend is depicted in your netsuke or sagemono?
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Bakurae
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Re: Subject Quiz

Postby Bakurae » Wed Jan 31, 2018 3:29 am

Wonderful expression, whoever he may be.

Alison

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tanukisan
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Re: Subject Quiz

Postby tanukisan » Wed Jan 31, 2018 9:31 am

Keep going Piers!
What about the 'tamatebako' by his side?

John 


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chonchon
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Re: Subject Quiz

Postby chonchon » Wed Jan 31, 2018 10:03 am

Urashima Taro asked to go home! The sea princess sorrowfully handed him her box of treasures, with the explicit warning never to open it. Here he is on the beach, leaning on the Tamatebako, reminiscing over the great time he had in the Rugu-Jo Castle paradise beneath the waves. (See waves on his kimono)

(When high class ladies married into other families they often brought a vanity case and some board games and lacquer furniture. Tama or Gyoku means a royal jewel 玉 and 手+箱 ie Te+hako = 'Tebako', means a hand box.)

As long as he continues to dream, he is blissfully unaware of his surroundings and the truth as to how long he has been away.
Last edited by chonchon on Wed Jan 31, 2018 10:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
Piers

Size is something.

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tanukisan
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Re: Subject Quiz

Postby tanukisan » Wed Jan 31, 2018 12:31 pm

Many thanks Piers and Alison!

Urashima Taro is a sea fisherman who one day sees a turtle being tortured by a group of children. Taro saves the turtle and releases it back into the sea. A couple of days later while Taro is fishing in his boat as usual, a large turtle tells Taro that the small turtle he had saved was the princess of the sea and that her name is Otohime. The turtle gives Taro gills as a reward and takes him to the deep sea to the underwater Dragon Palace, where he meets Emperor Ryujin and Princess Otohime.
After staying under the sea for three days with the princess, Taro gets homesick and wishes to return home to see his parents. She tries to stop him from leaving, but when he insists, she gives him a mysterious box called the “tamatebako” (jewel box, also soul box – a play on words) which will protect him. After giving him the box, she warns him not to open it no matter what.
Upon reaching the shore, Taro finds that things have changed so much that even his house, his parents, and all the people he knew are gone. When he asks around, he is told that Urashima Taro vanished into the sea a long time ago. In confusion, he opens the box, which turns him into an old man. 300 years have passed on land even though he only spent three days in the deep sea.
A variant on the tale ending, relevant to my netsuke, collected from Nakatado District, Kagawa, by Keigo Seki -

When he opened the lid of the box, the first box contained crane's feather; the second box issued a puff of white smoke that transformed him into an old man; the third box held a mirror for him to look at himself. The feather from the first box then fastened itself on his back, now transforming Urashima into a crane, and the princess appeared in the guise of a turtle to see him.

This netsuke shows a forlorn Urashima Taro alone with the tamatebako just before he opens it. It is a strange tale with an unhappy ending - if you enter another world, you cannot resume your life just as before. Similarities to the Rip van Winkle story.
Attachments
s-l1600.jpg
s-l1602.jpg
s-l1601.jpg

John 


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chonchon
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Re: Subject Quiz

Postby chonchon » Thu Feb 01, 2018 12:24 am

Two things bother me about this. One is that it is hard to tell if he is still a young man, but a little fat, or an old man, but not as old as we normally imagine, ie seriously old. The second thing is that here I am in Japan, and all my relatives and most of my childhood friends back home are no more. Is this Ryugu-Jo Castle? :(

PS I have two tamatebako here, in which I keep some of my 'treasures'. They never grow old...
Last edited by chonchon on Thu Feb 01, 2018 12:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
Piers

Size is something.

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tanukisan
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Re: Subject Quiz

Postby tanukisan » Thu Feb 01, 2018 1:57 pm

[quote="chonchon'' It is hard to tell if he is still a young man, but a little fat, or an old man, but not as old as we normally imagine, ie seriously old.[/quote]

That is one thing that appealed to me about this carving - he looks neither that young or old, handsome or ugly - he is in a transition state between worlds - of his youth with family and no longer at the underwater/ unearthly Ryugu-Jo Castle.

I never quite took to all those mandatory always beautiful princesses and devastingly handsome young men/princes in folk tales somehow!
Sadly we're all getting old Piers!
Last edited by tanukisan on Thu Feb 01, 2018 1:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

John 


onimh
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Re: Subject Quiz

Postby onimh » Thu Feb 01, 2018 2:04 pm

Sadly we're all getting old Piers![/quote]

I believe you meant to say: "Happily, we're all getting old..."

It appears to me as if he is contemplating whether to open the box or not.

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souldeep
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Re: Subject Quiz

Postby souldeep » Sun Feb 04, 2018 12:37 pm

Does anyone else see a bat, rather than a rat, emerging from the foot of this piece?
Screen Shot 2018-01-29 at 15.51.35.png

The artist seems very capable to display anatomically correct rats elsewhere (e.g. shoulder). It may just be the Angle of the photo. Jan do you have a side shot of the piece?
Piglet: "Pooh?" Pooh: "Yes, Piglet?" Piglet: "I've been thinking..." Pooh: "That's a very good habit to get into to, Piglet." - A.A. Milne.

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Oishii
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Re: Subject Quiz

Postby Oishii » Sun Feb 04, 2018 1:10 pm

Yes, it is rather bat-like, Martyn ...
Unfortunately no side shot, but the backside may get the answer ;-)
original.jpg
Jan

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Operafan
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Re: Subject Quiz

Postby Operafan » Sun Feb 04, 2018 2:19 pm

Judging from the photo of both sides, my vote goes for RAT (especially bearing in mind that I myself was born in the year of the RAT ;) )
Alex


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