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the hole of the netsuke


sergio

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I am not the ultimate resource for the answers to these questions. I ask them each time I must carve real himotoshi in a netsuke.

 

The himotoshi should be places so that the netsuke hangs correctly, to up is up and the bottom is the bottom while hanging, and so that the back of the piece with the himotoshi will rest snugly against the obi/kimono.

 

The size of the himotoshi depends on the size of the netsuke, and the size of the cord. These things vary. One also must decide whether to use two holes of equal size or one the size of the cord and the other a recess for the knot to be fitted into.

 

Lets see what Doug has to say! :blink::)

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Thanks Janel :blink:

Janel's advice seems sound to me. One particular thing I find frustrating, as a carver, is that publications showing photographs of netsuke rarely show the backside, with the himotoshi revealed. We could learn a lot if that were the case. :)

If you look at the cheap, 'Hong-Kong' netsuke made for tourists in Asia and sold all over the internet, you will learn where to NOT place a hole, and what size to NOT make them.

It's tough to give an answer - is there any way you could make a trip to a local museum to have a look at any? My cord channels are around 5-6mm in diameter, but there are no 'rules' that I know of.

 

I thought we had a discussion of this earlier on the forum, but couldn't locate any earlier reference. The whole "is it a netsuke if it doesn't have a cord hole" debate crops up now and again in collecting circles, especially since they aren't worn much anymore. My own personal choice is to try to begin getting away from drilled cord holes and instead begin to design where the cord attachment is incorporated into the composition. Janel does a great job of this (to name one carver who's accessible on the forum). Think about using the limb of animals, stems of leaves, etc to create a place for lashing on a cord.

 

The International Netsuke Society Journal may have had an article in the past examining himotoshi throughout the years; I believe they have changed a lot and are often studied to get a sense if a particular antique netsuke was ever worn. There's a famous 19th century carver, Kaigyokusai, who has some netsuke with holes so narrow it would seem that they never would have been strung with cords in any functional way.

There are doubtless other people around whith more knowledge than I.

 

-Doug

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`Hi, this is an intresting topic I would say.

Unfortunatly I can not help yet, but....!!!!

Through the internet site of netsuke.org I found out there's an museum nearby where I live. It's in Leiden, Holland ( Janel you can place a dot on the map now!) Planing to go there in a week or two.

I'll let you know if I got any whiser there!!!

And offcourse I'll put some pic's on the forum if I can get them!

good luck to find out and hope I can help a bit!

Chao,

Bart Janszen

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Before you go to the museum, call ahead and talk with a conservator, or someone who works behind the scenes with the of netsuke and related items. You might find that you will be allowed to view the pieces not on public display. I don't know if private museums will do that, but I did find my way back into the non public areas at the Smithsonian museum in Washington, DC by calling ahead. It helped that the person had seen my work at a show...

 

Good luck and have a good time at the museum.

 

Your dot is on the map!

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Before you go to the museum, call ahead and talk with a conservator, or someone who works behind the scenes with the of netsuke and related items. You might find that you will be allowed to view the pieces not on public display. I don't know if private museums will do that, but I did find my way back into the non public areas at the Smithsonian museum in Washington, DC by calling ahead. It helped that the person had seen my work at a show...

 

Good luck and have a good time at the museum.

 

Your dot is on the map!

Thank you all for yours answers. I thing that i don't make a himotoshi, my animal has a form who allow to pass a cord ( i don't know if my sentence is correct ), but i believed that a netsuke was really a netsuke only if there was a himotoshi. If i understand what says Doug, i'm wrong, and i prefer, because i don't want to make a hole in my little animal.

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You are correct Sergio- the drilled hole is not necessary- netsuke just need something that allows cord attachment. I've also located the previous discussion we had about this. If you go to the second page of topics under the 'techniques' heading, you will find a discussion called "Himotoshi". Have a look ;) .

 

-Doug

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Here are some scans of a few himotoshi, with superimposed ruler in millimeters for himotoshi scale reference. These will be approximately 2xlife-sized on your screen. Hope this clears up a little of the mystery of himotoshi.

 

post-11-1169767482.jpg

This one is probably 18th century, with the typical large/small holes. Well worn, of ivory. Most 19th and early 20th century himotoshi seem to be two same size holes. In my experience, most contemporary carvers seem to prefer the large/small hole kind of himotoshi if the design doesn't provide a natural cord attachment. The large hole was to provide a place for the cord knot.

 

post-11-1169767679.jpg

Pretty large for a netsuke, but another pretty old one, in antler. Probably late 18th century.

 

post-11-1169767736.jpg

Ivory, probably 18th century.

 

post-11-1169767770.jpg

Ivory, 19th century.

 

post-11-1169768061.jpg

Ivory, 19th century manju-style.

 

post-11-1169767856.jpg

Ivory, 19th century.

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Hi Sebastián,

 

Here's how I do it. Himotoshi should be a "U" shaped channel, and smooth so as not to catch on the cords. I begin with small grinder burrs and carve down into the surface, then begin angling the tool to reach deeper into the channel. I go to larger and longer burrs to reach the bottom of the channel, carving from both sides. It's probably best to carve as small a channel as you can at the beginning, then enlarge it once both sides meet up.

 

Here's a graphic:

post-11-1169790257.jpg

 

Is this clear as mud? Practice a few before you try on a real carving. It should seem much clearer to you after that.

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Fantastic, thanks a lot for these little pieces of "encyclopedie". Your explications are very good for beginers. I like to learn like this ( and to watch netsukes ). I think that i must adapt the himotoshi with the netsuke. And for the signature, is there a special place on the netsuke? Thank again, Tsterlinq, for your photos.

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again, anything goes. Some prefer to inlay a small piece of ivory, shell, lacquer or gold and place their signature on it. I've seen some monograms that are raised, ukibori-style. Some prefer a discreet, out of the way place- others tend to create an intentional place for it. You know the 15/16th century printmaker Albrect Duerer?, often times, he'd place his signature on a wooden tablet, or a rock, or something like that in the lower corner. that sort of idea.

 

I've seen signatures on pale wood colored with black ink to make them show, and signatures on ebony colored red to make them show.

 

it's all possible

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Hi Folks!

I would like to thank you Tom for your answer and graphic example, sorry for my late answer, I´ve been fighting with the internet conection. It´s amazing how you share your information, nothing common nowadays, and it´s wonderful to know people like you!

Thanks once again,

Sebas

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