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Hi, my name is Margaret Murray. I was wondering if anyone does netsuke carvings of Kara-shishi or know someone who does please help. I am a high school student doing a project on kara-shishi netsuke. I was wondering if anyone could answer a few questions for me about you as an artist that I can use in my project to properly finish my project. I thank you VERY much if you respond, but if not that is okay too.

Your name:

Country of Birth:

Country of residence:

Birth date:

Media of Choice:

can you also please list 10 to 15 facts about yourself?


Thank you very much!


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Kara-shishi have many names and their origin in debatable. Mostly recorded as coming from China... They are also considered Korean or Japanese as well. They are Chinese lion dogs... There is an old tale about the kara-shishi if you are interested...

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In the old days of the Japanese there was a madanbashi village that had a problem with a monster who would come onto their island and eat their livestock. One day the king came to visit the village with his guards. The village men decided to fight back. A wise and old woman named Chiru told the king to 'hold out his kara-shishi and the dragon will be sure to retreat.' The king held out the charm (netsuke) and loud lion noises came from the kara-shishi and a giant wave sent the monster back into the ocean. Then a giant boulder came from the sky and pinned the monster underwater. This tale comes from Naha, Okinawa, Japan where I was born. It may be unbelieveable but that is the tale. It is said much better when it is written in depth... but that's what I have from memory.

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You may have some difficulty finding non-Japanese artists carving shishi. One of the most interesting aspects of contemporary netsuke carving is that wherever the artform has 'set up a home'- whether it be America, Switzerland, England, Ukraine, Australia, and so on, it has found new subject matter intrinsic to that particular part of the world.


If this is a project you'd like to develop fully and spend some time with, there are some other options. You could contact the International Netsuke Society (www.netsuke.org). They publish a journal and have many knowledgeable people in their membership who might be able to shed light on this topic.


Makiko Komada, the daughter of a well-known Japanese netsuke carver, Ryushi, runs a website in Japan. It's called Koryuen , http://www.cc.rim.or.jp/~komada/

She may also be of some help.


Best of luck on your project,



p.s. I enjoyed that fable- I've never heard it before.

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