2006/06/07

Doug Marsden is another reclusive New Zealand artist who carries an international reputation earned by the superb quality of his skill as a creator and carver of netsuke.

Netsuke carving is the traditional Japanese art of exquisite miniature sculpture with the utilitarian aspect of being the end cord toggle of pouches and inro boxes fitted so as secure the container on the waist sash of traditional Japanese attire. For those interested in learning more of this fascinating subject concerning netsuke, information is available at these locations http://www.thecarvingpath.com/ or http://www.netsuke.org/

Doug Marsden is one of New Zealand’s most accomplished netsuke carvers who has traveled and exhibited with numerous international netsuke events.

This awesome little carving by Doug is only 4.5cm high (1.75in.) Carved from traditional boxwood with inlays of mother of pearl and horn.

There has been a regular representation of New Zealand netsuke carvers at the prestigious, annual exhibition of contemporary netsuke at the Seibu store Japan.
Two of whom are in the collection of the late Prince Takamodo. A copy of this enlightened collection can be obtained here http://www.paragonbook.com/html/browsesubj/fullcitation.cfm?item=27766
Contemporary Netsuke: The H.I.H. Prince Takamado Collection

When initially exploring netsuke it immediately becomes very apparent the subject matter for these exquisite, miniature sculptures is boundless. From absolute realism to the simplest of abstract forms. From myths and legends figures of wild fancy evolve under the master’s patient skill.
War and death, love and hate, sensuous entwining in eroticism, monsters and heroes even the light and whimsical, suggesting subtle humor in a multitude of forms.
The images below are an excellent illustration of the capricious nature Doug’s mastery is able to achieve and impart a sense of joy and pleasure from simple materials. Boxwood for the emerging figure and antler for the other two.

The height of these pieces is approximately 2”. Capturing expression and emotion at this minute scale is no mean feat requiring great vision and control. Not only of tools and material but also incredible patience.

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