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Netsuke - Not Sure What To Do With This

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So, I don't really collect netsuke but I found this tyke a few years back in a thrift store for two bucks. It's got a noticeable split on one side. Otherwise it's a cute thing.

Since the rules about antique ivory are changing here in California in July, I was going to try and find this another home, or donate it to a cultural museum if it was worth their time to even take it. How would I find out if this is bone or ivory, and if so, does it even seem like something a cultural center might want?

Thanks for any input!

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Dee,  I am afraid your netsuke looks like ivory. Bone always has small dark flecks in it that were the channels for blood vessels when it was living tissue. The two other possible materials would be stag horn, which has only a skin of dense bone-like material around a spongy core, the other being 'vegetable ivory' which is from a type of nut and lacks the subtle patterning that ivory has. I'm afraid I cannot help you as to the possibilities for disposal, but I deplore the destruction of works of art in the name of conservation. Having said that I deplore even more the killing of elephants to supply Asian carvers, much of whose output is utterly banal. Here in the UK ivory items can still be bought and sold if they were created before 1947. Admittedly it isn't always easy to establish when something was made, but the fact that your netsuke has developed a crack suggests it is probably of some age. I wish you well in trying to find a home for your puppy.

Ian Bottomley 

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IMO it's clearly made of ivory, and certainly not in Japan (pigs are not native to Japan, the zodiac anmial was always depicted as a wild boar). The generic "signature" and awkward placement of the himotoshi (holes) point towards Hongkong or China, undoubtly made after 1947. I can't imagine any museum or the like would be interested.

Sorry.

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Of course its a pig - I'm going blind in my old age - I took it for a fat puppy. Help!

Ian Bottomley

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It looks like a "pot bellied Vietnamese pig". You cant to give it away?

 

 

Wah

I actually haven't tried until now. Since I didn't know anything about netsuke and I just heard about the new law, I thought I'd be proactive and see if I could find it a proper home with someone who'd appreciate it. Not trying to make money. I just like to see old things treated nicely and if I can find someone who would like it, I'd give it to them while I still can.

And I am totally against the ivory trade as well. Destroying antiques seems a bit over the top, though.

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My niece might like something like that.

 

Wah

I'd be happy to send it your way--it needs a happy home!

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You should try to identify the Schreger lines on the surface. Ivory come from elephants and mammoths and both species are the only ones with these lines. The intersection of Schreger lines form an angle that is above 100 degrees for the evephants and below for mammoths.

Regards,

Emiliano

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