Carvings - Japanese
Mr. Audsley, in his "Notes on Japanese Art," very truly says, " Of all the carved work of the Japanese, the most wonderful and interesting are the ivories called Netsukes ; these consist of groups of animals and grotesque figures and representations, indeed of nearly every natural object in Japan, most truthfully rendered. It is quite impossible to give any idea in words of the quaint humor, the broad caricature, the intense power of expression, and the general artistic excellence which stamp every netsuke in which the human form appears, with an individuality, distinct from anything of a kindred nature produced in other lands."
As an example of the perfection of the work of these ivory carvers even at the present day, we would call attention to the large tusk, seven inches in diameter, which was exhibited in the Egyptian Department at the Philadelphia Centennial, and purchased by the Japanese, who were commissioned to place it in the hands of the most expert artist in Japan. He took three years to produce this work of art, and chose for his subject the moment when Yoshitsune, the Chevalier Bayard of Japanese history, betrayed by his Imperial brother, whose throne he had assured, is about to embark upon the vessel which was to separate him from his beloved home forever, sacrificing himself rather than bring civil war upon his country.