Sense of Beauty

Netsuke

I came across this object via Pinterest.  I was impressed by the beauty and would love to share it with you.

According to Wikipedia, Netsuke (根付), are miniature sculptures that were invented in 17th-century Japan to serve a practical function (the two Japanese characters ne+tsuke mean “root” and “to attach”). Traditional Japanese garments—robes called kosode and kimono—had no pockets; however, men who wore them needed a place to store their personal belongings, such as pipes, tobacco, money, seals, or medicines.

Their solution was to place such objects in containers (called sagemono) hung by cords from the robes’ sashes (obi). The containers may have been pouches or small woven baskets, but the most popular were beautifully crafted boxes (inrō), which were held shut by ojime, which were sliding beads on cords. Whatever the form of the container, the fastener that secured the cord at the top of the sash was a carved, button-like toggle called a netsuke.

 

Ancient Beauty

nordic-brooch

An ancient bronze owl brooch was found and now on display at the National Museum in Denmark. The fastener or brooch is flat and decorated with enamel and glass in brilliant colours.  The focal point is perhaps on the bird’s big eyes inlaid with orange glass pupils that seem to stare back at you. The owl’s body is decorated with colourful glass shaped in circles with a green enamel background.

It is believed that the owl is a symbol of wisdom and this rare piece was made between the 1st and 4th century AD by the Roman.

 

Beauty of Nature

There are many definitions on “nature” from science to geology.  My context here is about the intrinsic characteristics of plants and animals.

It is interesting to note that the distinctive patterns on the flora and fauna serve some purposes; they may have arisen from evolutionary pressures which favor the bearers of certain types of markings.  Example camouflage pattern to be invisible to predators another conspicuous pattern for the purpose of mating and reproducing.

Natures portrayed in art, capturing their beauty in the painting play a small part in raising awareness of valuing nature and prevent it from further exploitation.  

Snuff Bottles

It was common to offer a pinch of snuff as a way to greet friends and relatives in ancient China.  The content may be tobacco which is considered to be a remedy for common illnesses such as colds and headaches.  The bottles were made to be held inside the palm with a very small spoon for extracting the snuff, attached to the stopper.

The snuff bottles were commonly produced using wood, glass, precious and semi-precious stones.  Most collectors are interested in the ‘inside painted’ – bottles painted on the inside surface of the glass.  The earliest painted glass bottles maybe between 1820 and 1830.  Due to intricacy of the painting, a highly skilled artisan was required, the brushes were manipulated via the narrowness of the neck bottle which measured just around 5-6mm and the images has to be painted in reverse.

Today, the snuff bottles were collected for its aesthetic rather than utilitarian purposes.

Onogadori/長尾鶏/Long-tailed Chicken

While we were having lunch, my daughter was excited sighting a pair of rooster and hen roaming the compound.  Her excitement was understandable as it is uncommon to see a fullydressed chicken in Singapore.  While our topic is on chicken, it is my turn to feel amaze when she introduced me to a breed in Japan known as Onogadori.

Onogadori evolved from the common domestic chicken.  The tail lengths measured from 12 to 27 feet.  Japanese breeders provide special hutches with perches well above the ground to keep the tail clean and in good condition.  This breed has been designated by the Japanese government as a Special Natural Monument.