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Auction Report on Okame (Katchen) : views on a Masanao attribution

A forum for discussions on INS-sponsor auctions from future and past.
billweb
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Auction Report on Okame (Katchen) : views on a Masanao attribution

Postby billweb » Fri Dec 30, 2016 1:33 am

Winter Journal arrived this morning.

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AFNetsuke
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Auction Report on Okame (Katchen) views on a Masanao attribution

Postby AFNetsuke » Fri Dec 30, 2016 4:18 pm

Arrived late yesterday in south central coastal California.
David has a Namazu article with lots of prints as illustrations plus netsuke. Looks interesting. Will read tonight. Im really happy Oli Moss is doing the auction reports. His insights make for very good reading and are very educational. May not make all successful bidders happy but he is giving his honest opinion.
Alan

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Clive
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Auction Report on Okame (Katchen) views on a Masanao attribution

Postby Clive » Tue Jan 03, 2017 11:43 pm

AFNetsuke wrote:
I'm really happy Oli Moss is doing the auction reports. His insights make for very good reading and are very educational. May not make all successful bidders happy but he is giving his honest opinion.


I really like Oli.. but some of his "insights" are simply pretty baffling to me.

For instance.. his latest report in the Winter Journal 2017, Bonhams, London, 8th Nov, Katchen Collection

Referring to Lot 21, the ivory Okame about which there was some pre-sale speculation about it possibly been a unsigned Masanao,
Oli writes.. "I believe it to be early 19th Century, as catalogued. Masanao just didn't create that sort of surface, a treatment that is a good fifty years after his period of activity. A great netsuke, though"

Huh?? :?

"Masanao just didn't create that sort of surface, a treatment that is a good fifty years after his period of activity" ???


I have spent more than a few hours carefully considering what that sentence might actually mean.. as well as an equal number of hours carefully examining the netsuke in question.. including a few in my studio under magnification. For the life of me I cannot even begin to imagine what on earth Oli's talking about. If somebody could explain it to me I'd be very grateful.

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AFNetsuke
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Auction Report on Okame (Katchen) views on a Masanao attribution

Postby AFNetsuke » Wed Jan 04, 2017 12:32 am

Have you asked him? Did you think it the work of Masanao? I have never handled it so was interested to see him writing about it in this way.
Clive, would you be interested in contributing to the Auction reports from the viewpoint of your technical evaluation of surfaces, hairwork, stain, carving details, etc? Perhaps collaborating with the reviewer who might incorporate your thoughts? These are the things people need to learn in order to make informed decisions, especially when relying on a dealer to do evaluations in their absence from sale previews.

MOD EDIT - Here are a few pictures (from the Bonhams site) of the netsuke that is being discussed - END MOD EDIT
Screen Shot 2017-01-04 at 21.33.56.png
Screen Shot 2017-01-04 at 21.34.09.png
Alan

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Clive
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Auction Report on Okame (Katchen) views on a Masanao attribution

Postby Clive » Wed Jan 04, 2017 1:42 am

Alan, whether or not I think it a Masanao is irrelevant.. I simply don't understand what the sentence is supposed to mean.
Since you found it "very good reading", "very educational" and "interesting", am I wrong to presume you have some idea what it means?

Lets break the sentence down if it helps..

Oli writes.. "Masanao just didn't create that sort of surface.."

What sort of "surface" did Masanao not "create" ??

I've studied the piece and the only "surface" that was visible to my eye is a warmly patinated and polished aged ivory, with hints of a light original stain in the more recessed areas and a fairly freshly applied re-inking of the hair... the black pigment still relatively unbleach. Since a large number of carvings are routinely re-inked by collectors and dealers I cannot imagine Oli would think the latter consequential to the carving's original creation... but then Oli refers to the surface as "a treatment that is a good fifty years after his period of activity". :?

What "treatment" ??
Are we to think that Oli imagines the passage of time to be a treatment applied to the carving by a carver. :?

I'm sorry.. maybe I'm missing something blindingly obvious but it sounds like gobbledygook to me.
Last edited by Clive on Sat Jan 07, 2017 2:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

borat
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Auction Report on Okame (Katchen) views on a Masanao attribution

Postby borat » Wed Jan 04, 2017 2:19 am

Clive ... i've sent you an email regarding this piece

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AFNetsuke
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Auction Report on Okame (Katchen) views on a Masanao attribution

Postby AFNetsuke » Wed Jan 04, 2017 3:15 am

Gopi, care to share your thoughts?
As I said, Clive, ive not handled it so would not know about the surface. My comment on Oli's writing was a general one not specific to this piece. And it has led to some questions here which i consider part of education. I think his column was better reading than simply seeing lot #blah, blah was hammered down for X GBP. It gave us something to talk about and you are talking. I'm hoping Gopi will share as he may have had his and other hands evaluating it for him.
Alan

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Clive
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Auction Report on Okame (Katchen) views on a Masanao attribution

Postby Clive » Wed Jan 04, 2017 4:37 am

Alan.. it turns out (Thanks Gopi) that the Moss's apparently didn't think that the ivory surface was old enough to be that of a Masanao of Kyoto. I was simply confused by Oli's rather peculiar way of expressing that sentiment.

FWIW... while I also thought it highly probable that the carving was early 19th century based on the general appearance of the carving, I simply could not definitively rule a slightly earlier date completely out... and certainly not from just the perceived qualities of its ivory surface. Perhaps I'm just being too pedantic but there is a degree of certainty in Oli's comment that I find surprising. Still.. he's a big lad and I'm sure he won't mind a little sumo from me about it.. ;)
Last edited by Clive on Wed Jan 04, 2017 8:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

borat
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Auction Report on Okame (Katchen) views on a Masanao attribution

Postby borat » Wed Jan 04, 2017 6:00 am

If anybody has a photo of its signed wood twin, comparison would be very instructional :)

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neilholton
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Auction Report on Okame (Katchen) views on a Masanao attribution

Postby neilholton » Wed Jan 04, 2017 1:00 pm

Whether it be a netsuke by Masanao or any other Artist/Studio there are a number of things out of the control of the original creator. One, is how the materials surface appears. That aspect was out of their control the moment it left the shop.

I would also love to hear further from Oliver if not Masano who/where?


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