It's the New Year, and after much travel, busy-ness and a new computer, I've gotten around to taking some shots of work completed the past couple of months. In an earlier post I mentioned being intrigued by the kozuka form. I wanted to try to incorporate it into a netsuke that was functional, and had a bit more interest than just an oblong piece with some low relief carving. I hit on the idea of depicting a newt crawling over the surface of one.
The puzzle was what imagery to use on the kozuka itself. I started with ideas of geese, to offer a contrast of sky dwelling and terrestrial creatures. It didn't seem quite right, so my thoughts went to a contrast of scales and I sketched out a couple of mountain scenes. That all seemed too detailed and fussy. Finally I hit upon a dragon. At first I was a bit worried about it being the cliche choice, but once begun, it fit just fine. I like the contrast between a mythical creature and his more reality-based cousin. The contrast of scale is also a success, I think.
It's carved in ebony, with black-lip pearl shell accents. Measuring just over 10cm in length, it would be classed as a sashi netsuke, with the cord attachment through the newt's tail, and the entire piece thrust behind one's obi.