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Signature reading

Discussions of carvers, workshops and attributions. A forum to also find help on, or discuss, signatures.
Orest
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Apr 25, 2017 10:54 am

Signature reading

Postby Orest » Tue Apr 25, 2017 11:04 am

I need to identify the artist of this netsuke.
Thank you for your assistance !
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Vlad
Posts: 5079
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 6:59 pm
Location: Brooklyn, NY

Re: Signature reading

Postby Vlad » Tue Apr 25, 2017 12:03 pm

Sorry to disappoint you, but this is a souvenir piece and it is not carved by an artist. The scramble on the back is not a signature, but just an imitation to charge more for it.
"Man sieht nur, was man weiß" - "One sees only what one knows". Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)

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chonchon
Posts: 6776
Joined: Wed May 18, 2005 9:16 am
Location: Japan

Re: Signature reading

Postby chonchon » Wed Apr 26, 2017 3:37 am

Dear Orest, please do not take offense at Vlad. He likes to shoot from the hip, and it can be hard for a new arrival here.

Some people love this kind of Karakuri (mechanical) Netsuke, however roughly they are made. Yours I feel is, on balance, a rather better and interesting example.

But you simply asked about the signature and not about the quality of work. What is written there in 'flowing' grass writing is 松風, which can be read as Matsukaze (or Shofu, pronounced like 'Show-foo'). This was quite possibly an unlisted craftsman, selling to the mass market. Generally (but not exclusively) such a flippant way of writing on lower quality Netsuke indicates not a serious signature.
Last edited by chonchon on Wed Apr 26, 2017 7:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
Piers

Size is something.

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Vlad
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Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 6:59 pm
Location: Brooklyn, NY

Re: Signature reading

Postby Vlad » Wed Apr 26, 2017 5:19 am

No need to apologize for me, Piers. A junk is a junk in any part of the world, and it's I who rather should be sorry for you still not recognizing it right away when seeing. I do believe there is more harm than good not telling the truth to the unexperienced newcomers and seeding some hope where there should be none, particularly by attempting to decipher meaningless signature imitations. We have been through this one too many times before, and will just have to agree to disagree on it once and for all, I guess.

I still strongly believe in the educational role of this Forum (or should I call it Lounge now), particularly as it is still supported by the INS, an acting member of the BOD of which I still happen to be at the moment.
"Man sieht nur, was man weiß" - "One sees only what one knows". Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)

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jbjtennyo
Posts: 3698
Joined: Fri Jun 06, 2008 8:38 pm
Location: USA

Re: Signature reading

Postby jbjtennyo » Wed Apr 26, 2017 7:38 am

abbreviated explanation of Sousho from the internet.
"Sousho means “grass writing” and refers to a flowing cursive style of calligraphy. Here, form supersedes readability, resulting in swooping shapes. Only those trained in shodou are usually able to read this type of script, as the shape of the character is almost unrecognizable as the same kanji. It is a more stylized script rather than a way to convey information."

While this carving is not a quality carving, these trick netsuke are a form of folk art, and a part of Japanese culture. As in all types of carving some are better than others. This is a tourist piece, but there is always something to learn and enjoy. Piers, living in Japan is more familiar than most of us with the writing styles in Japan, and so is more able to recognize kanji in their different forms and styles. I appreciate knowing that the script on this tourist quality trick netsuke is not just scribble as some are, but grass writing, and had a good read about it on the internet.
Judy

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chonchon
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Joined: Wed May 18, 2005 9:16 am
Location: Japan

Re: Signature reading

Postby chonchon » Wed Apr 26, 2017 7:51 am

I chose my words fairly carefully in my reply above, Vlad, and I stand by them. We do not know if this person is a total beginner, or someone perhaps working for a museum who has been asked for a signature reading, regardless of subject matter or quality of carving.
Piers

Size is something.

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Tama
Posts: 1508
Joined: Fri Dec 12, 2014 4:22 am
Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Re: Signature reading

Postby Tama » Wed Apr 26, 2017 2:17 pm

Piers, as always your response to the new comer is filled with kindness and information. Educating lounge users can be done without sarcasm and biting comments. I encourage the kinder approach to the new comer as it was in my case, I became an avid collector and a member, I almost left right away in the beginning if it were not for Luigi, JC, Dave and David White, all of whom had my back and took nurturing roles with me. Love ya guys! :love: :x

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AFNetsuke
Posts: 6165
Joined: Wed Dec 10, 2008 12:14 am
Location: Central California coast, USA

Re: Signature reading

Postby AFNetsuke » Wed Apr 26, 2017 3:19 pm

Piers, I would agree that this trick netsuke is better than most I've seen but when you say it was made for the masses do you mean made in Japan for actual use or are you agreeing that it is a tourist item beyond the time of netsuke being worn? I as this for my own education as I would have thought this one dates to the mid-20th century or later.
Alan

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Vlad
Posts: 5079
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 6:59 pm
Location: Brooklyn, NY

Re: Signature reading

Postby Vlad » Wed Apr 26, 2017 4:19 pm

chonchon wrote:I chose my words fairly carefully in my reply above, Vlad, and I stand by them. We do not know if this person is a total beginner, or someone perhaps working for a museum who has been asked for a signature reading, regardless of subject matter or quality of carving.


Sure Piers, and I do by mine. This type of carvings has no more to do with the art of netsuke than any other merchandise of a souvenir shop has to do with the art in any form, and than the producer of it with a real artist.
store-window-of-a-souvenir-shop-on-5th-avenue-in-new-york-city-cxx0gp.jpg

This place has moved far away from what it was when I have joined it, and the role and the purpose if it has also apparently changed, while some have not even learned to say ivory from bone over this many years. It's just sad! :oops:
"Man sieht nur, was man weiß" - "One sees only what one knows". Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)

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jbjtennyo
Posts: 3698
Joined: Fri Jun 06, 2008 8:38 pm
Location: USA

Re: Signature reading

Postby jbjtennyo » Wed Apr 26, 2017 5:01 pm

The lounge can only be as good as the collectors who are either willing to post their fine netsuke or share their knowledge in a non threatening environment. We as serious collectors may grow weary of explaining the difference in quality- we have seen poor things again and again- but we do need to remember that a new poster has only posted once and only sees our reply once- welcoming and informative or curt and off-putting.
Whoever responds is making an impression that reflects on us as a group I think. We were all beginners at one time and some of us fortunate enough to find a mentor to help develope our eye. Isn't that what the forum/lounge is for?
Judy


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