Sunday, August 15, 2010

Antiques - 264 Carvings Tell History of Edmund de Waal’s Family - NYTimes.com

Manju netsukeImage via Wikipedia

Antiques - 264 Carvings Tell History of Edmund de Waal’s Family - NYTimes.com: "The British ceramicist Edmund de Waal will promote his memoir, “The Hare With Amber Eyes: A Family’s Century of Art and Loss” (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), during a two-week tour of the United States this fall. But he will be able to bring along only a few of his favorite pocket talismans: Japanese carvings called netsuke, the size of walnuts, depicting animals, fruit, peasants, samurai and erotica."
They are mostly made of ivory, and sometimes boxwood, and only the wooden ones can officially be stuffed into his luggage. “You’re not allowed to carry ivory out of the country,” Mr. de Waal said in a recent phone interview.

His book revolves around 264 netsuke, which have been handed down in his family for four generations. Mr. de Waal, who creates monochrome cylindrical vessels for a living, took a few years’ break to riffle through family archives and to travel abroad 20 times for research. He has learned that the collection was displayed alongside Impressionist and old master paintings during the last 140 years, and he discovered who protected it from wartime theft.