Owen Mapp. Unique Sculpture, Wood & Bone God Stick

Here is an excellent, contemporary interpretation of a God Stick. The traditional purpose these esoteric figures fulfilled was to act as a guardian, protect the possessors from antagonistic energies and act as a focus for communication with past ancestors who had passed over into the spirit realm.

This piece is approximately 24" in height and richly imbedded with sybolism which is complimented by geneology markings. A detailed description of this creative sculpture is beyond the scope of this entry and for those who may wish to persue any embellishment to the story, they are advised to contact Owen Mapp himself.

Doug Marsden. Small figure in Mask

The two and a half inch, boxwood, sculpture of a figure crouching inside a large mask is an exemplemary illustration of the emotive powers able to be achieved in this intimate format.

Who could deny being touched by the integral whimsy Doug has so masterfully imbued in this wonderful, emblematic caricature?
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.

Exquisite treasures, lovingly formed from the earth’s bounty have always held strong fascination for the discerning collector. Numerous materials have become classic media to which artists from all cultures and ages are drawn. All have their own characteristics from the malleable qualities of metals to the extremely hard virtues of crystals. Diamond, the hardest natural material, carbon based, grows in a cubic structure and the next in line of hardness is corundum, recognised as ruby and sapphire, forms in a six sided crystal. From these two minerals a multitude of gemstones descend in order of hardness. In gemological terms a hard stone is one which is harder than steel. Many minerals are encompassed by this term but none better known than nephrite jade. Of all gem minerals jade is the most revered by all Neolithic cultures. For good reason, it is the toughest gemstone there is with a shock factor far exceeding diamond. Shock being measured by resistance to fracture through controlled impact. Due to the inherent toughness jade was the closest Neolithic man had to steel and incredible artifacts remain to this day of highly skilled works in this ‘Stone of the Heavens’. An esteemed value the old Chinese believed. Even today jade commands a well earned respect from those whom it draws near. No more so than those who are called to honor the stone by revealing the forms within. An empathetic approach, recognizing the inherent qualities and values of any given specimen and following the ‘feel’ of the stone, produces contemporary artifacts of unparalleled beauty and intrigue.

The above example shows front and back of a contemporary, nephrite sculpture. Clearly illustrating the inherent beauty revealed by allowing the stone to lead. In this instance the design has evolved, using 18ct gold and diamonds to represent stamen and pistels. Subtlety blending the perceived precious materials into a complimentary, neck sculpture.
Materials from the organic kingdom of flora and fauna also have their part in this intrigue of intrinsically appreciated media, providing substances for man’s desire to create items of outstanding beauty. Of this realm, Ivory has to take first choice. Many species of animals grow ivory and Neolithic mans’ global appreciation of this material is evident in the abundant artifacts to be seen in Museums around the world. Today these animals are in threat of extinction due to unsustainable demand for their highly prized tusks.
However this little treatise is in honor of the Earth’s bounties and ivory is certainly one of these. Sick and old animals are culled for the greater good, unknown reasons cause whales to beach themselves. Such may be the source for those of integrity because these are the true gifts of nature, into the hands of the deserving.