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Two boxwood Kirin netsuke

Ko Baas

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I e-mail a lot with a fellow carver about carving netsuke. This carver is active on The Carving Path as Hako. (Harald Hayen)

We talk about the projects we are working on and other netsuke related things. On day Harald suggested to carve the same subject simultaneously. And when the carvings were completed to exchange them. I liked this idea so I agreed. Then we chose a subject we both liked. It was a seated Kirin with his head turned backwards. We both used boxwood and both did double inlaid eyes.

When the carvings were completed Harald send his Kirin to me. I took pictures of the pair and send my Kirin to Harald. It was a surprise to both of us to see the result, we didn't mail pictures. And I am very pleased with the Kirin Harald made. Despite the same subject, materials, size, techniques, finish, etc. they are so very different.

Harald will post his comment on the project in this post.


Here are the Kirin pictures. I carved the one on the left. The one with the itch!





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These are great, it would be fun to see all the differentances in the two and then you take it to another level of 'what makes a person see things in such a different way then carve them in such a different manner.' They both look great, thank you for letting us see these together.



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Janel, a Kirin is a mythologycal being from China. It appeares only one at a time once in a 1000 years and only when a just emporer rules.

It has the head of a dragon, body of a deer, hoves of a horse and tail of an ox. It makes no sound and leaves no footprints. It's noble and gentle and never harms living things, not even insects.

The Kirin is an androgynous being. It's Chinese name is composed of characters denoting male and female.

In China the Kirin symbolises the birth of many sons.


One legend tells a Kirin appeared to the mother of Confucius before his birth and vomited a jade tablet with an inscribtion telling that Confusius will become a King without a throne.



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