Carving-Antiquarian (19th Century or Earlier) Jade Netsuke of a Sea Bird

Carving-Antiquarian (19th Century or Earlier) Jade Netsuke of a Sea Bird

This is an interesting carved netsuke in how the artist utilized the the single piece of ivory colored Jade to execute the design. Pieces carved out of a single piece of jade present complicated carving tasks, increasing dramatically as the piece becomes larger and/or more intricate.

Note the amazing early light jade lidded vase offered in our store, also. It was a piece acquired from an estate of a gemologist we worked with until he vanished circa early 1980s; that's a whole long story! That piece is offered at a reduced price on this site and was also carved from a single piece including the interlocking rings of the chain that connects the lid to the vase. That it could be done from one chunk of jade is truly amazing--at least to me. I love jade and admire the workmanship.

This (I would estimate) mid- to later 1800s netsuke is far less complex (and far less expensive!) but presented some challenges. One wonders if the design of the bird with its neck bent way over was simply an artist’s choice or if it was done out of necessity due to the vagaries of the piece of stone. If you look closely between the bird’s body and neck it looks as if it is holding a rock in that position. It could be as part of a Japanese tale but I think It actually is a piece of perhaps crystalized rock matrix that was part of the piece of jade and simply left there during the carving process.

19th century jade carvings/netsukes generally are priced in the several hundred dollar range today. I have priced this one at a price you might have expected to see in the 1950s. I purchased it at auction almost 40 years ago with a few other pieces of antique Asian art.