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Advice on Repair

Tips and advice on looking after your netsuke and sagemono
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UPenn
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Advice on Repair

Postby UPenn » Mon Feb 19, 2018 11:30 pm

Hi All I'm new here this is my second thread.

I had a lot of success with the first thread getting amazing advice and education. So here goes thread #2.

Recently I obtained this statue, not quite a netsuke because it's a lot bigger, like five inches, so it's really a statue.

It's a Japanese hunter, I know very little about it, it came with no history except the seller insists it is legitimate, whatever that means.

Anyway I didn't pay that much for it so I'm really not worried about anything. It's amazingly detailed and beautiful I'm glad to have it.

But it has damage to the hand - please see the picture below.

He was holding something which is broken off.

Now that little jutting part is an eyesore.

I'm sure somebody could carve that off and finish the hand to make it look perfect again.

No doubt Natasha could do that.

My questions are:

1) Is there an ethical issue here, like will I be accused of doing something underhanded or manipulating history? I'm not doing it to increase it's value I have no intention of every selling it, I just want to increase its aesthetic qualities for display purposes. But I understand if there's some line one's not supposed to cross here.

2) Assuming it's okay to do it, how hard would it be to do myself? I have a bunch of needle nose diamond files. But I have zero experience. But I am an artist I draw and I draw very detalied so I have the eye for detail I just don't know how to work stone like that.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I'm here just for fun so please keep it friendly, thank you.

broken_hand.jpg
My name is Greg, life is good, code green.

dougsanders
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Re: Advice on Repair

Postby dougsanders » Tue Feb 20, 2018 1:01 pm

Could I see a picture the the object in its entirety?

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UPenn
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Re: Advice on Repair

Postby UPenn » Wed Feb 21, 2018 4:52 am

dougsanders wrote:Could I see a picture the the object in its entirety?

Of course, here are pictures, thanks

hunter1_1_small.jpg


hunter1_2_small.jpg
Attachments
hunter1_3_small.jpg
hunter1_4_small.jpg
My name is Greg, life is good, code green.

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chonchon
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Re: Advice on Repair

Postby chonchon » Wed Feb 21, 2018 8:35 am

Wow, that is stunning. Many thanks for showing us. It must be the end of his bow.
(Look at the bamboo/rattan bindings https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E5%92%8C%E5%BC%93

...and at the top of his left shoulder.)
Last edited by chonchon on Wed Feb 21, 2018 8:39 am, edited 2 times in total.
Piers

Size is something.

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UPenn
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Re: Advice on Repair

Postby UPenn » Wed Feb 21, 2018 3:04 pm

chonchon wrote:Wow, that is stunning. Many thanks for showing us. It must be the end of his bow.
(Look at the bamboo/rattan bindings https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E5%92%8C%E5%BC%93

...and at the top of his left shoulder.)

Oh wow I see what you mean, it's not just the hand, the whole bow has been broken off.
I didn't notice that until you pointed it out - good eye!
Yes the left shoulder shows where the other end was attached.
Bummer it must have been amazing, I can't believe they lost the bow they could have glued it back on.
Here's a closeup of the other damage.
What do you think, would you try to modify it or just leave it as it is?
It's still nice to look at even with the missing bow.
broken_bow.jpg
My name is Greg, life is good, code green.

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jbjtennyo
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Re: Advice on Repair

Postby jbjtennyo » Wed Feb 21, 2018 3:09 pm

Upenn, It is a lovely Okimono, and seems to have more age than a lot of them we see. Is it signed on the bottom?
Judy

dougsanders
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Re: Advice on Repair

Postby dougsanders » Wed Feb 21, 2018 5:36 pm

I'd leave it as it is. It appears in your original photo that there are traces of glue on the broken stub, so I think pieces have been attached in the past.
My day job is as a professional conservator, and I see too many of these sorts of things where well-meaning people with unfortunately little awareness of the complexity of the issue make matters worse.

Rounding the stub over with a needle file, as you suggest, would just be adding to the damage.

Ethical? No something I'd do, but you're the owner.

It's noteworthy that you missed other points of damage, yet I would suggest you were ready to take action.
Last edited by dougsanders on Wed Feb 21, 2018 5:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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UPenn
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Re: Advice on Repair

Postby UPenn » Wed Feb 21, 2018 7:13 pm

dougsanders wrote:I'd leave it as it is. It appears in your original photo that there are traces of glue on the broken stub, so I think pieces have been attached in the past.
My day job is as a professional conservator, and I see too many of these sorts of things where well-meaning people with unfortunately little awareness of the complexity of the issue make matters worse.

Rounding the stub over with a needle file, as you suggest, would just be adding to the damage.

Ethical? No something I'd do, but you're the owner.

It's noteworthy that you missed other points of damage, yet I would suggest you were ready to take action.


Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on my dilemma.

Life is long so I'm going to hold off doing anything until I'm no longer "well-meaning people with unfortunately little awareness of the complexity of the issue".

The arrow has been glued back, I'm surprised you could determine that from the scans - you definitely have a conservator's eye! When I purchased this I was told the following:

“VERY GOOD CONDITION CONSIDERING AGE. MINOR AGE RELATED WEAR WITH SOME DAMAGE TO ONE HAND AND THE ARROW HAS BEEN GLUED BACK TO STRENGHEN. ALL STILL INTACT.”

I would say that was a highly misleading description.

However I still like it too much to return it. I told the seller I was disappointed." But that was even before I realized the entire bow is missing - that's been dragging me down all day.

As a professional conservator, would you be able to actually replace the bow with a custom made one? I'm not trying to increase its value or anything because I have no intention of selling it, I will leave it to my next of kin, but it's just a bit of obsessive compulsive desire to see it complete as it was intended.

Thanks again for your time I really appreciate it!
My name is Greg, life is good, code green.

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UPenn
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Re: Advice on Repair

Postby UPenn » Wed Feb 21, 2018 7:14 pm

jbjtennyo wrote:Upenn, It is a lovely Okimono, and seems to have more age than a lot of them we see. Is it signed on the bottom?

Hi Judy thank you, I've added a picture below with the signature on the bottom - I've not done any research on that yet, so if it means anything to anybody please let me know.
hunter1_5.jpg
My name is Greg, life is good, code green.

dougsanders
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Re: Advice on Repair

Postby dougsanders » Wed Feb 21, 2018 8:44 pm

I work as a paper conservator, with library, archival and art materials at a University, but then on evenings and weekends I carve netsuke :? All conservators seem to have a great eye though for noticing details :P
I wouldn't attempt a replacement myself; chiefly because so much of the re-carved piece would be conjecture.

It's an interesting topic- repair- and it's gone through quite a lot of approaches over the years, at least in the museum and conservation professions. Different countries take different approaches and certainly different eras have found different solutions and ethics. Next time you're at a museum, have a look around- particularly in areas of ceramic and sculpture collections and you'll likely see different approaches going on. Play 'spot the repair'!

I would personally ask for a return, but I'm not much of a collector- there are others on the forum more able to comment on the topic of buying/selling and the risks involved. Certain collecting areas are more accepting of damage than others, and certain collectors have a higher tolerance. Where you fit in all of that, only you can determine, but of course experience plays a part in shaping one's attitude :)

One other thing- I suspect the subject of your okimono isn't a hunter, but maybe some sort of legend involving a samurai killing a boar. The only one I've been able to find was someone who killed a giant one, with his bare hands- Washinowo Saburô- which I don't think is the case here.
Last edited by dougsanders on Wed Feb 21, 2018 8:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.


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