A Silent Forest

Silent Forest Netsuke
Silent Forest Netsuke
Silent Forest Netsuke
Silent Forest Netsuke
Silent Forest Netsuke



Type: Netsuke

Sold. Japan, private collection.

Materials: Warthog tusk. Jet, coral and amber inlay.

Dimensions: 34×28×21 mm.


I often visit the forest to take pictures of birds. When I walk through an unfamiliar area, I perceive the forest as a chaotic mixture of plants. Any geometric precision or musical harmony is absent and, it seems, there is neither order nor purpose. But this is only first impression. It is enough to silently observe for some time as forest starts gradually opening up its secrets.

After visiting a particular forest corner on several occasions, I see and understand its life and structure. Every tree, shrub and blade of grass has its place. Animals and birds do not move chaotically but follow established routes and visit their favorite places. And while the pattern of forest life does not become more orderly or familiar to our senses, everything within it becomes meaningful. And I, myself, inadvertently fall under the forest's order of things.

I have included these images of pine and oak as symbols of energy and longevity. The oak has acorns - a symbol of rebirth. The forest mouse is a symbol of the year 2008, so I have also added dormouse. This placid animal well represents a peaceful forest life. The winter wren (Troglodytes troglodytes) is a "king of the birds". There are multiple legends associated with this bird. In many instances people attribute the qualities of kings to it. I will not repeat all the legends here as many of them could be found on the web. Long-tailed tit is one of my favorite birds to observe in the wild and to take pictures of.

This netsuke carved from warthog tusk and stained with yashadama. Eyes of wren, long-tailed tit, forest mouse and dormouse are inlaid with jet. Wings of the butterfly are inlaid with red coral. Natural himatoshi are formed by branches of pine tree. The signature is at the bottom of amber mounting.