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Sue Wraight's Fisherman's Net


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In a short discussion about my "Floating Treasure" pendants which are loosely based on the Japanese kagamibuta style of netsuke, Sue Wraight shared a kagamibuta of hers that she’s carving. She kindly gave me permission to post the images she shared with me. A rare treat, from one of the nicest people you'll ever meet, and an extraordinary artist/carver.


Here's what Sue sent, in her words: I am working on a piece at the moment that has a similar kind of kagamibuta form but it doesn't have a metal lid. Its Aesop's fable of the Fisherman's Net, where the big fish all get caught but the little fish slip through the mesh to freedom. As a very little fish in the world's pond that idea appeals to me! This was the design:


The lid has the big fish caught in the net, on the back a jubilant small fish leaps in the breaking waves.


This is the lid so far, with three fish carved, and three eyes inlaid,.,.,



And these are the test samples for the waves - I have engraved lines into the wood, and then filled them with powdered white gold to get the grey lines, and gold leaf to get the yellow ones. Not sure which material I will choose yet!


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Here’s a quick and dirty explanation of what a kagamibuta netsuke is. Literally translated as “mirror lid,†it is a small bowl with a decorated lid, usually metal. The attachment cord passes through a single hole in the bottom of the bowl and is fastened on the bottom of the lid. These came about with the outlawing of sword carry in Japan, when the metalworkers involved in the production of swords and sword furniture needed a career change.


Here are a few images of a kagamibuta netsuke of mine, with a porcelain lid, yew bowl with ivory cord hole liner, about an inch and a half in diameter.



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