Japanese carved bone ...WHAT?

cityapartSeptember 15, 2012

I have had this piece for many years but I could never found out if the opening on top is part of the design or it has a function. Does anyone know? The piece is small, 3 1/2"X1 3/4"X1 3/4". The opening is 2 1/8"

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Ideefixe

Netsuke toggle?

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 11:42PM
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lindac

does the hole go all the way through the piece?

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 10:40AM
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lindac

Think it's a business card holder.

Here is a link that might be useful: card holder

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 5:19PM
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calliope

Japanese business cards are the same standard size as those used in America. The two and a half inch slot would not accomodate a business card. They are pretty ritualisitically exchanged in Japan and not displayed nor stored like that. One carries them in a special leather folio and places them in a leather box upon receipt to accomodate the etiquette expected.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 9:09PM
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lazy_gardens

It's probably functional. If there is no hole on the bottom, it can't have been a netsuke toggle.

The trick is going to be finding out what went into that hole. It could have been fitted over the end of a wooden scabbard to hold the two pieces together.

Any other "end caps"?

    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 9:39AM
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lindac

Perhaps it's not Japanese....maybe Aleut? Haida?...I see the birds and think perhaps Egyptian? African?

    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 10:00AM
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cityapart

The piece does not have any other opening. A friend of mine who lived in Japan and knows the culture very well replied that, in his opinion, the piece is not Japanese.

I checked in Google and Bing for Aleut and Haida carved objects but the iconography is very different. Same with African art or Egyptian.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 9:05PM
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lindac

Try searching suing words like fossil ivory and walrus tusk and sacred ibis

    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 11:18PM
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justlinda

In the last picture, it may be my imagination, but I seem to see a seam around the flat end of the piece, as if it can be removed.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2012 at 11:45AM
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cityapart

What you see are seams that cannot be open. The item is made in three pieces glued together.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2012 at 2:47PM
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calliope

I do think it's oriental. Cranes have a lot of symbolism involved in Chinese, Korean and Japanese culture.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2012 at 4:22PM
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llaatt22

Perhaps a quickly done test piece made by an applicant for apprenticeship or something similar. Meant to be something along the lines of a plant container or fish home in an aquarium?

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 2:17PM
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