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Horse Dancer Netsuke
Sold To Private Collection

Antique Narwhal Netsuke
Horse Dancer
Noh Theatre Actor

Netsuke Signature: Unsigned, Early 19th Century
h. 2.25 in.(5.5cm.), w. 0.75 in.(2cm.), d. 0.75 in.(2cm.)
Condition: usage worn

Of all the aspects of netsuke, we frequently assert that artistry is the supreme value. Although many works share subject matter and even depiction, truly fine artistry is distinguished from good workmanship in a piece such as this beautiful narwahl carving. The narwhal tusk is hard and dense, with an enamel surface that polishes to a high luster on cream with darker tones occurring as layers are revealed by carving. The gloss and enamel of this work combine to produce a translucent reflective edge which appears both warm and cool when turned in the hand. Because of its age, the superficial lines have worn down, leaving only the vital lines, or “dragon lines” which are the support of the design, to stand out in purity and simplicity. The beauties of this work are many; the eloquent play of line in motion over the mass, with every line and curve related to every other line and curve; the sense of aliveness from every angle, all of which are equally pleasing and surprising; the deft handling of the levels of relief, in which volume is achieved through slight variations in depth; the lovely rendering of the horse mane and tail with flowing parallel lines; the subtle folds, and the directions of the folds, in the garment, where it is draped and where it is gathered with a sash. Even the age cracks in this carving are harmonious.

  
  
  
  
  
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