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pipe case addition

A place to discuss and share other forms of sagemono such as Inro, Pipe Cases etc
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chonchon
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Re: pipe case addition

Postby chonchon » Mon Feb 19, 2018 12:45 am

AFNetsuke wrote:Piers I have a pipe with a similar little stamped square but was told it says "Jin", meaning pure silver. Are they different or two different purities? Mine is completely plain.


Alan, 純銀 (Jun-gin) would be pure silver. The character you are seeing will probably be Jun (pure) or Gin (silver). 8-)
Piers

Size is something.

lohrberg
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Re: pipe case addition

Postby lohrberg » Fri Apr 27, 2018 5:39 pm

TSUGARU-NURI
When the Virginia Atchley book of her collection was published I found a pipecase in the Tsugaru-nuri technique on page 293. Please have a look into her book. Virginia and her co-author Neil Davey describe this lacquer technique on page 341 in a short version. Let me quote:

Named after the province of Tsugaru where it is said to have originated, this technique involves several layers of different coloured lacquers which are applied unevenly to the base. When dry, they are polished flat, giving the surface a marbled appearance

You can find a more detailed description for Tsugaru-nuri in Kurt Herberts's book DAS BUCH DER OSTASIATISCHEN LACKKUNST, Düsseldorf, 1959. See pages 403, 404, 414, 415.

From this book and other sources I want to add some more facts of Tsugaru-nuri.
The place Tsugaru is located in the north of Honshu in Aomori Prefecture. Tsugaru is the name of the area where the technique came up in Japan. Nuri means Coating.

Ikeda Genbei was the lacquerer to developpe the technique in the 18'th centuri.

In Herberts's work a chinese lacquer box is identified in this technique, which is dated Ming Period (1368-1644). This indicates, that Tsugaru-nuri might be of chinese origin.

In an advertizing for Aomori's current lacquerware business a more detailed description is given:

Tsugaru-nuri begins with as many as 48 applications of a base layer, all of which must completely dry before any progress can be made. Then, the pattern layers are painted on. To achieve the distinctive pattern of Tsugaru-nuri, a spatula-like tool is used to apply the resin. Colored surface patterns are dictated by the thickness of the pattern lacquer layers. Finally several coats of the surface layers are applied and allowed to dry.
After the application of the surface layers is complete, the patterns are brought out by sanding and polishing with wet sandpaper, eventually reaching the multicolored layers beneath. The finished result is a piece bearing a rich, mottled pattern with depth and a glossy sheen. The entire process from start to finish can take more than 60 days. Some people say, the lacquerware's distinct beauty is the result of the dark, long winters of Aomori


Now we know about the basics of Tsugaru-nuri lacquer.

Here is an example from my collection,

Reinhard
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AFNetsuke
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Re: pipe case addition

Postby AFNetsuke » Fri Apr 27, 2018 11:34 pm

Reinhardt, as usual you present us with a beautiful object and enlighten us with the description and background.
I am curious as to the "up to 48 layers" statement. Does the number of layers have some significance or is that perhaps just the most layers that have been counted with this technique?
Alan

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mss
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Re: pipe case addition

Postby mss » Sun Apr 29, 2018 10:09 pm

A recent acquisition of a stag antler pipe case presents an interesting contradiction. An inlaid plaque bears a worn signature consistent with that of Dosho(sai)—an Osaka artist known to occasionally use inlays for his signature (per Lazarnick). The case, however, has a strong Asakusa flavor. Why the discrepancy?

The MCI lists one bamboo pipe case under the Dosho heading—so the carver apparently does have some experience with kiseruzutsu. Has anyone seen other pipe case examples with a Dosho signature?

I have shown images of this case to several individuals who are more knowledgeable than I. One expert feels this is an added plaque--to an Asakusa case. The plaque however, is worn to the point of partially effacing the second kanji. The glue line around the inlay appears to have shrunk somewhat, and to my eye, the plaque is contemporaneous to the case. If added to an initially unsigned case around the time of production, was Dosho sufficiently famous to warrant same? If the plaque is a later addition, would one expect a different signature (such as “Koku”)? Conceivably, the inlay could have been placed to hide a defect in the underlying material, however, if a defect was present, it was not full thickness (interior of case appears intact).

Case particulars: one of a multi case lot, and the reason for my bid. It is quite light for a stag piece, no doubt due to the extensive piercing. The face of the rain dragon has a somewhat “goofy” look, unlike most Asakusa rain dragons I have seen. The mouth of the case is protected by a gold ring. The inlaid plaque, under magnification, appears to be marine ivory.

Could this case be evidence for a possible link between Osaka and Asakusa carvers; or is it an example of Kokusai’s popularity influencing other schools? Paul Moss' Kokusai tome mentions Asakusa themes being all the rage in the late 1800's. Could this be an example?

Comments most welcome.
Attachments
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lohrberg
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Re: pipe case addition

Postby lohrberg » Wed May 02, 2018 8:18 am

Dear Milton,
this is clearly a pure excellant Asakusa piece of a top quality.

According to Ueda Reikichi Dosho lived from 1828 to 1884 and Doshosai from 1830 to 1867. Dosho's working period and Asakusa carvers are overlapping, but they have nothing in common in style.

I checked pipecase articles in the Journals by Isabell Cunningham and William Parker and Bushell's publication in Arts of Asia. None of them mentions Dosho. Cunningham in Netsuke Kenyukai Volume 7 number 1 shows a similar unsigned piece.
Bavaria Klaus (KPR) has a pipecase similar to yours, but no dragon, unsigned. Though the pattern all around the case. Show it please, Klaus.
Why the Dosho inlay? We don't know. Collectors sometimes transform their pieces with silly ideas, sometimes contraproductive. We know those many examples of signed netsuke etc, and we sight: It would be better without this signature!

Reinhard

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mss
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Re: pipe case addition

Postby mss » Wed May 02, 2018 1:35 pm

Thank you, Reinhard, for your comments. I too looked through my library for any reference to Dosho in regard to pipe cases, without result. I have considered the possibility of some sort of repair, as I have seen material defects at the base of pipe cases presumably due to the trauma of repeated insertions of a hot pipe bowl. Also, the inlay appears somewhat irregular, consistent with possible repair. However, the inside surface at site of inlay appears intact (visible because of the extensive perforations on the front of the case). Still, this inlay could have been skillfully placed to repair such a defect. Conceivably, the inlay could also have been placed to correct a fault on the exterior surface (not full thickness), but again, this is speculation. Would such a repair be sufficient reason to place a signed inlay?

These questions led me to consider some sort of Osaka-Asakusa connection, as I believe, because of the wear, that the inlay was placed near the time of production. Hopefully, another example with this signature might surface to help explain the conundrum.

Milton

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mss
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Re: pipe case addition

Postby mss » Wed May 02, 2018 10:41 pm

from Vlad: "Given the location (the thin part) and the irregular shape of the plaque, have you considered an old repair of an Asakusa piece by Dosho?

I have an old piece with a similar repair in a similar place, just not signed but rather camouflaged instead..."


Having received a private message from an experienced collector, Vlad Bykoriz (quoted with his permission), I undertook a re-examinaton of my pipe case with a strong light illuminating the interior through the perforations on the obverse. There is a very small, flat discoloration of the interior at the base; whether this is a natural inherent variation, a result of use, or result of repair difficult to confirm--although this discoloration is markedly smaller than the inlay on the reverse.

Not sure we'll ever know the true reason for the inlay, absent another similar, signed example turning up in the future. In any event, the inlay does not impact the integrity of the piece--just makes it more interesting.

Thank you, Vlad for your comments and interest.

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KPR
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Re: pipe case addition

Postby KPR » Thu May 03, 2018 6:28 am

Also, the adhesive can lead to discoloration, especially with thin and porous horn.
Klaus

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mss
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Re: pipe case addition

Postby mss » Thu May 03, 2018 12:06 pm

KPR wrote:Also, the adhesive can lead to discoloration, especially with thin and porous horn.


Good point, Klaus. I hadn't thought about that. Thank you

lohrberg
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Re: pipe case addition

Postby lohrberg » Fri May 04, 2018 12:41 pm

AFNetsuke wrote:I am curious as to the "up to 48 layers" statement. Does the number of layers have some significance or is that perhaps just the most layers that have been counted with this technique?


Dear Alan,
how many layers? I have no knowledge to answer your question. Mr. Saratani might know, but he does not follow the FORUM.
For those readers visiting Japan I have to suggest: Please visit the art section of one of the main department stores like Mitsukoshi, Takashimaya and the like. In Tokyo in the Ginza area and Shinjuku, but in all big cities. Art is mostly offered in the upper floors of the houses. They normally show contemporary lacquer works of high and highest quality, and of course Tsugari nuri.
Here are some examples of this beautiful technique,

Reinhard
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