Archive for whales

Art that hangs by a thread

Posted in ART HISTORY, DESIGN, exhibitions, HISTORY with tags , , , , , , , , on May 15, 2010 by echostains


two netsukes at the Vand A

The Victoria and Albert Museum is a veritable wonderland of treasures!  I love the way the rooms are laid out.  The Asia section holds many wonders and these Japanese Netsukes are no exception.  There are great displays of them, but we found them a bit tricky to photograph (especially with our camera…).  The image above is probably the best of a bad bunch, but you can get an idea of how interesting these are I hope.

Japanese Netsuke God of luck Hotei

A netsuke is basically a weight or a toggle.  Japanese kimono’s have no pocket so small items are stored in pouches or boxes attached to a string and hidden behind the obi (belt).   The netsuke is attached at the other end to stop the box or pouch from slipping.

large netsuke from the V and A

They are usually carved from ivory or wood and some of the designs are ingenious!  We saw lots of wonderful ones (displayed here).  I find these small objects fascinating and wonder at the craftsmen who carved them and what tiny tools they must have used.  Many of the netsukes are based upon mythical creatures from folk-lore and legends and this lends them a fairytale and whimsical character.

I would love to own one of these – but I think I would be spoilt for choice at which sort to pick.  Ivory can be very visually appealing – until you remember where it came from….  It’s the same with Scrimshaw ware. These were carved on the bones and teeth of the Sperm whales by whalers.  I took this photo of a whales ‘shoulderbone’ – if there is such a thing.  A whale with shoulders?  this was taken in a pub called ‘The Royal Children’ in Nottingham.  The pub still holds a liscence for selling whale oil for lamps!

a whale's shoulder

I wrote a poem about the netsuke..

Netsuke image of Hotei from here and the Victoria and Albert Museum website is here

Netsuke examples image from here

Lovely netsukes and Japanes imgaes from here

I celebrate being 6 months smokefree with a rant

Posted in HOME, RANTINGS, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 6, 2008 by echostains


Whale's shoulder bone

Whale's shoulder bone



What does it mean to get on ones wick?  People are always saying it to me.  Is it a whaling term? I thought.  I had been reading a book called ‘In the Heart of the Sea’, by Nathaniel Philbrick.  It is about the sinking of the Nantucket whaling ship the Essex: the kind of forerunner of Moby Dick. I actually saw a whales shoulder bone in a cabinet in The Royal Children pub in Nottingham.  It was massive.  That pub had a licence to light its lamps from whale oil because of its whaling connection, not sure if it still has it or not.



 But I digress, as usual.  I found out where the term came from to ‘get on ones wick’….and I had to laugh! Trust me!  so typical…




 But I digress (again and this is beginning to become a habit: lose one habit: – get one free).  I was standing at a bus stop today, happily minding my own business.  It was raining and I was sheltering under the canopy of the bus stop.  A woman joined me.  Within seconds she had lit up a fag.  She in turn was joined by another woman, who also lit up.  They in turn were joined by a man who also lit up!  So, there were three people smoking, with me in the middle (a non smoker of 6 months).  Then another woman joined us: she took one look at all the smoke and stomped out of the bus shelter and stood in the rain.  I should have joined her really but just then the bus came.  Why should a person be driven to stand in the rain because they are in the minority.  I hate moaning about this.   I always said there was nothing worse than a reformed smoker/drinker etc and I don’t want to go on about it.  But I can now see where these people are coming from – or I would if I could see through the vicious miasma that is gunging up my lungs AND my vision!