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Japanese carved bone ...WHAT?

Posted by cityapart (My Page) on
Sat, Sep 15, 12 at 19:48

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"


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Japanese carved bone ...WHAT?

Netsuke toggle?


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RE: Japanese carved bone ...WHAT?

does the hole go all the way through the piece?


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RE: Japanese carved bone ...WHAT?

Think it's a business card holder.

Here is a link that might be useful: card holder


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RE: Japanese carved bone ...WHAT?

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.


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RE: Japanese carved bone ...WHAT?

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"?


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RE: Japanese carved bone ...WHAT?

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


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RE: Japanese carved bone ...WHAT?

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.


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RE: Japanese carved bone ...WHAT?

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


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RE: Japanese carved bone ...WHAT?

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.


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RE: Japanese carved bone ...WHAT?

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


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RE: Japanese carved bone ...WHAT?

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


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RE: Japanese carved bone ...WHAT?

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?


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