Friday, May 30, 2008

Round Robin Photo Challenge: Tiny


We're entering the world of the small today, so here is an itsy bitsy, teeny weeny, Chinese boat-like carving thingy.


Check out the window shutters here; they actually open and close.


The characters in the writing on the bottom are only a couple of millimeters tall. I have no clue what it says, but if anyone out there can translate it I'd love to know.

My aunt gave me this years ago, but she didn't say where it came from. Members of my family served as Marines in the Korean War and in Japan in World War ll, so it may have been sent back by one or the other of them. She did say she thought it was carved from some kind of fruit pit.

I've been examining it closely for the first time and doing some research online, and I think it's a netsuke, a bead used to close a little purse worn on a kimono. It has tiny holes in the points on either end, as well as larger ones in the carving on one end, and a groove cut into the carving. It would seem it was meant to be strung on threads. I also have a smaller, less elaborate ship that may be the ojime bead that goes with it.

As netsuke go, it's unremarkable and crude, but it impresses the daylights out of me.

For lots more Lilliputian lovelies, please click over to the Round Robins Photo Challenge, OK? See you there.

Update 6-03-08: Turns out this isn't a netsuke after all, but a peach-stone carving. See this post for details and a shot of the smaller boat: Nice nuts.


the teach said...

Mymaracas, it certainly doesn't look unremarkable and crude... It's just lovely. And how much work went into it! I'm amazed! Great photos! :D

Gattina said...

Whatever it was used for it looks very nice ! what a work to have carved all these letters in such a tiny thing !

Sandcastle Momma said...

What a beautiful little thing! I love the intricate carving - how delicate the hand must have been to carve something so small and yet so beautiful!

Carly said...

Hi Vicki

You're macro shot is wonderful. :) It is such a pretty little bead. It is so enjoyable to see it up close. :) What a lovely little charm to have. Lovely. If you find out what the writing is be sure to let me know.


Always, Carly

Robinella said...

Too bad the tiny passengers didn't come out so you could snap thei
r photos too. :-)

Thanks for introducing something new to look at.

Suzanne R said...

What a lovely and interesting thing to possess! And you did such an excellent job of photographing it. I love the details, especially the writing. Nice entry!

Karen Funk Blocher said...

What an amazing, gorgeous thing! It reminds me of carved ivory or jade, or whatever that red stone is in Oriental carving. Good luck with your research - it sounds as though you've already made much progress.

Kiva said...

What detail! I can hardly imagine the person who had the patience or eyesight to carve such a delicate item. You photograph it beautifully.

Peter said...

I have no idea what a "netsuke" is, but you have a nice one there.

Steven said...

These are lovely. You photograph wood amazingly well. Thinking about last RR too. Lovely soft and vibrant tones.

I had no idea about Netsuke. Thanks for sharing yours!

Family Affair Photography said...

unremarkable, crude? No way! It impresses the hell out of me too and I'm only getting to look at the photographs. Great photographs. Thanks for sharing.


Jennifer Robin said...

Those are really great photos of a truly tiny curiosity!

Gina said...

i find it impressive as well! a lovely tiny thing for this challenge.

Jama said...

It's must be someone special to be able to carve out of that tiny little thing!

Janet said...

I think it is an netsuke...I have a few of them from my time in Japan.

That's an amazing macro, the light is perfect and so is the focus. Well done!