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Subject:Ivory Netsuke, very detailed???
Posted By: Wendy Green Tue, Dec 28, 2021 IP:

I wondered if someone might be able to help with this little netsuke. She is so beautiful, pregnant mother and child. It is Ivory, or I believe it is. It is signed on the bottom, but I am not sure who the artist is?
I also can not find anything else on the internet that is as finely painted as this. 4 cm high x 2.5 cm wide. Any help will be greatly appreciated. thank you Wendy

Link :Green

Subject:Re: Ivory Netsuke, very detailed???
Posted By: Mark Adams Wed, Dec 29, 2021

Hi Wendy,
Your carving is a Japanese netsuke.
It's not elephant ivory imo. It's tagua nut.
It's carved from the 20/21st century. These are still be produced today for the tourist market.
The giveaway on yours are the dimensions of the two holes. They are the same in your images. On genuine old examples one is much larger the other one.
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Subject:Re: Ivory Netsuke, very detailed please help
Posted By: Wendy Green Wed, Dec 29, 2021

Hi Mark,

I have taken some more images. The holes on the back of the netsuke are not even. One is definitely bigger. I have also taken a closer shot showing ribbing or crosshatching on the surface of the carving. Any further information would be brilliant.

Subject:Re: Ivory Netsuke, very detailed
Posted By: Wendy Green Thu, Dec 30, 2021

Hi Mark, Thanks so much for your reply, it is very much appreciated. I had another look at the Netsuke and one hole is actually bigger than the other (please see more detailed images). I don't think it showed up well in the previous images as I was not focusing on it (of course). Re the material of the Netsuke, it seems cold to touch, which I would assume a nut would not be? and it also has a cross hatched finish to the exterior, I have tried to capture this in an image....
I have looked for the signature online but have had no luck, unfortunately, it is like finding a needle in a haystack, when you have no idea of what you are looking for. As I said thanks for your help, at least I know two things about it.

Subject:Re: Ivory Netsuke, very detailed
Posted By: jonathan Thu, Dec 30, 2021

It is Ivory. There are streger lines on the bottom near the signature. That said it is a piece for tourist production and not for actual use. The himotoshi (holes) are very rough even though they are differing sizes.

Subject:Re: Ivory Netsuke, very detailed
Posted By: Mark Adams Thu, Dec 30, 2021

Hi Wendy,
Thank you for your additional pictures and information.
It can be difficult to distinguish elephant ivory and tagua vegetable ivory. Both can have grain etc. However elephant ivory always will have shregger lines. Tagua very fine grain.
One sure way of testing is to put a tiny drop of sulphuric acid and leave for 10 minutes. Then wipe it off. If there is a pinkish residue then it's tagua nut. If nothing is left then it's elephant ivory.
However, this test will damage your netsuke if its tagua nut as the residue can't be removed.
Personally I think it is tagua ivory netsuke. Nicely carved and from the 20th century.
If you Google Japanese netsuke you will find a couple of clubs etc. You may wish to run it past them as they are the experts etc.
Sorry I couldn't be more helpful to you. Perhaps others here can offer you a opinion or two.
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Subject:Re: Ivory Netsuke, very detailed
Posted By: Stan Thu, Dec 30, 2021

Hi Wendy,

I concur with Mark's dating of the netsuke. I would say mid-20th century or newer. Your pictures aren't good enough to see any Schreger lines on the base. See the base of our toad on a bamboo stump netsuke below for an example of Schreger lines.


Subject:Re: Ivory Netsuke, very detailed???
Posted By: Ernest Wilhelm Thu, Dec 30, 2021

I need a shot of the whole carving in one picture... Not too close
also how tall is it
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