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Is this a rakan or a Sennin?

What subject or legend is depicted in your netsuke or sagemono?
bandini
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Re: Is this a rakan or a Sennin?

Postby bandini » Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:51 am

There was a very similar piece in the exhibition held at the Embassy of Japan in London in 2013, cf.: In a Nutshell page 20.

The British Museum has an okimono of the same subject. They call it an arhat (or rakan)

BM 'rakan'.jpg


"Rakan" Ivory, late 19th century. The "rakan" were original disciples of the historical Buddha. They are often represented in groups of sixteen or even five hundred. This rather humorous sculpture of a "rakan" expelling demons parodies the Buddhist's battle with ignorance and illusion. It is typical of the naturalism of the art-school style of the Meiji period.

http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/c ... kan&page=1
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souldeep
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Re: Is this a rakan or a Sennin?

Postby souldeep » Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:04 pm

Hi Rosey,

Thank you for taking the time to share your expertise on this subject.

The quality of the okimono you have just shared is breathtaking. Moreover, the model subject is a perfect match.

I scold myself for the sloppy approach in my opening reply. I should have taken the time to explain where I had read the alternative to the Rakan subject.

Apologies for the crudely scanned article from Euronetsuke Sping 2014. I have some Sunday chores I must complete so ran out of time to tidy up and OCR the document. I have turned the scans into a PDF.

Inside the article, there is a model from the same circle of hands as shared in the opening post, and the model you highlight on page 20 of In a Nutshell. It was interesting to read and decide if there is any merit to the author's alternative point of view on the subject.
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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bakuoo7
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Re: Is this a rakan or a Sennin?

Postby bakuoo7 » Sun Apr 15, 2018 3:29 pm

Hello Walter,

The netsuke is the very same piece from Netsuke in a Nutshell as Rosemary has said.

Here as two more pictures to compare. The patina and carving are a 100% match.

Super piece. :)
Attachments
Rakan 1.JPG
Rakan 2.JPG
David Louis Brown

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souldeep
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Re: Is this a rakan or a Sennin?

Postby souldeep » Sun Apr 15, 2018 5:58 pm

Hi David. Thanks for sharing those images. Appears to be the very same piece as published in In a Nutshell. Good spot and great photos!
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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chonchon
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Re: Is this a rakan or a Sennin?

Postby chonchon » Mon Apr 16, 2018 2:54 pm

What is that at his left waist? Normally I would think of a sword handle from more modern history...
Piers

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bandini
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Re: Is this a rakan or a Sennin?

Postby bandini » Mon Apr 16, 2018 3:43 pm

BM rakan okimono.jpg


I'd be happy for enlightenment, Piers! But clearly not a sword

(its worth noting that the okimono is a Meiji period carving)
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AFNetsuke
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Re: Is this a rakan or a Sennin?

Postby AFNetsuke » Mon Apr 16, 2018 6:53 pm

I had the same question as Piers but in relation to this object.
20180416_114825.jpg
Alan

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tanukisan
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Re: Is this a rakan or a Sennin?

Postby tanukisan » Mon Apr 16, 2018 10:26 pm

I presumed that is the object Piers was questioning Alan. It does look like a sword handle but surely not regulation kit for a Rakan.........

John 


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bakuoo7
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Re: Is this a rakan or a Sennin?

Postby bakuoo7 » Mon Apr 16, 2018 10:50 pm

Could it be a kiseruzutsu / pipe case he is wearing?
A tsuba of a smoking Raman.
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c99054494f7dabd05fd1cacbc9938ef3.jpg
Last edited by bakuoo7 on Mon Apr 16, 2018 11:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
David Louis Brown

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souldeep
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Re: Is this a rakan or a Sennin?

Postby souldeep » Tue Apr 17, 2018 6:53 am

tanukisan wrote:I presumed that is the object Piers was questioning Alan. It does look like a sword handle but surely not regulation kit for a Rakan.........

Hi John,

I held back posting because of the lack of any distinctive handle. As Rosey points out no obvious sword. Additionally, without we find the sword somewhere else in the carving (e.g. in a hand), it further weakens an argument of this even being a sword related object.

The above being said, and in absence of the answer, I am still struggling to discount it's feasibility as a scabbard. As Pier's has already insinuated (Pier's please correct me if I misunderstood your point) - this scabbard is unlike the more common curved representations we associate with traditional Japanese swords.

The decoration on the object reminds me of a similar element used to decorate the scabbard we see on some of those older Shuzan style models of Ryujin. The cross sections possibly indicating dragon scales? I know - I'm pushing it a bit here :D

In regards to your comment on regulation kit - there have been historical references to religious figures and temple swords.

One such example would be a ceremonial rain sword called the ama-goi-ken. This was described as a straight double edged sword with a dragon decorated hilt.

Could it be this element was used to denote a Buddhist deity, and does this have any merit? In the absence of any obvious hilt I suspect that this idea only has merit amongst romantic, rather than evidential, intuitions.
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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