It's Cold

It's Cold. The Monkey netsuke.
It's Cold. The Monkey netsuke.
It's Cold. The Monkey netsuke.
It's Cold. The Monkey netsuke.
It's Cold. The Monkey netsuke.



Type: Netsuke

Sold. Japan, private collection.

Materials: Tagua nut. Amber, mother-of-pearl and wild boar fang inlay.

Dimensions: 42×27×33 mm.


It's cold...
The body is growing numb
And the eyes are staring into the infinity...
S. O.

The inspiration for this carving came from a frozen monkey photograph by Dmitri Kautz. Dmitri was kind enough to allow me to use this photograph.

The netsuke is carved from a single tagua nut and is dyed. Tagua nut has internal fissures forming during the drying process. Thus it's always somewhat risky to carve tagua nuts in deep relief. One needs to remove the extraneous material little by little and very carefully, during a long period of time. I also try to utilize the shape of the nut itself as much as possible. Carving tagua is not as complicated as carving from the Crimean juniper, for example, but the material still dictates its own requirements and I have to take into account all of its whims.

This is my first attempt at multilayered inlays for the eyes. The eyeball itself is carved from a wild boar fang, the iris is from amber. To carve all the parts of the eyes and to fit them perfectly is a painstaking and laborious process. But the end result is well worth it. When the work is done the eyes look extremely lifelike!

Also for the first time I placed a "mystery spot" on the netsuke. In this case it's a small mother-of-pearl dot located next to the smaller of the two himotoshi openings. What is this "mystery spot" you ask?

In life, among all the things and objects well known and ordinary to us, there may be something that can't be understood or explained, something that we can't comprehend with our minds. Still this "something" exists and blends harmoniously into the canvas of life irrespective of our perception. More often than not we simply don't notice these "mystery" things and events. We can try to give them logical explanations based on our own experience while ignoring those aspects that don't mesh well with our standard perception of the world.

I think, however, that these "spots" are very important! They can lead us beyond the borders of well-known and commonplace matters. Only when we try to comprehend the incomprehensible we have a chance to learn something new, a chance to really change! Otherwise we are simply hanging about in one place. One can't reach a new place walking along some old, well-known pass. New places can only be reached by new, previously unexplored roads.

The "Mystery spot" on this netsuke is a symbol of those unknown and incomprehensible things in our life that we need to pay more attention to. I intend to place such "mystery spots" on my future works as well. These will be various details blending harmoniously with the netsuke but their intent may not always be clear to our minds.

My signature is engraved in an amber reserve.