Black macaque mask-netsuke

Black macaque mask-netsuke
Black macaque mask-netsuke
Black macaque mask-netsuke
Black macaque mask-netsuke
Black macaque mask-netsuke
Black macaque mask-netsuke

Properties:

2007

Type: Netsuke

Sold. USA, private collection.

Materials: Ebony. Amber, honey horn, black buffalo horn, warthog tusk inlay.

Dimensions: 5,1 x 3,5 x 2,2 cm.

Images:              

Crested black macaques (Macaca nigra) are found only on two islands in Indonesia. They are restricted to the tip of the northeastern-most peninsula of Sulawesi and on an island 345 miles from Sulawesi, Pulau Bacan, where they were introduced by humans in 1867. They are now on the endangered species list as they are often hunted for their meat by the natives and frequently killed by peasants protecting their crops from foraging by these macaques.

When I first saw pictures of these animals I was astounded by the expressiveness of their faces. I decided that I absolutely have to carve a black macaque. First I thought to carve a full-figure netsuke but then the face would have been too small, making it next to impossible to portray the macaque's amazing facial expressions. That's why I decided upon a netsuke mask for this purpose and carved the face alone.

The mask is carved from ebony wood which possesses deep rich coloration. The teeth are carved from African warthog tusk. I added light patina in the crevices, for a more natural color.

Each of the eyes is made of three parts. The white of the eye is made from the African warthog tusk as well; the iris is carved from honey horn, and the pupil is inlaid with Baltic amber.

Two "mystery spots" are inlaid on the reverse, along with my signature in an amber reserve.

The carving progress of this netsuke may be observed here.