Wednesday, August 29, 2007
On the 29th August, Paul Daniels successfully bid for an erotic mermaid wood netsuke. "What's a netsuke?" I hear you cry. I asked that question myself. Luckily the seller, ebay user mokrat4, explains exactly what one is in his listing for the item.
"Netsuke's originated in Japan and came into being over 300 years ago. The Kimono (traditional Japanese dress) had no pockets so the people carried a small hanging object - AN INRO- to keep all their possessions in. The INRO had drawstrings to keep it closed and to attach it to the wearers waist. The toggle which secured the drawstrings to the waist was known as the NETSUKE and was both functional and aesthetically pleasing.The OJIME (sliding bead) was strung to the cord between the netsuke and the INRO to tighten or loosen the opening of the INRO.... NETSUKES were made from wood / bone or ivory and were probably always delicately carved. This required enormous skill and craftmanship from the carver. As time went on the carvers became famous for their originality and imagination and often they signed their work in respect to this."
Hmmm... so, without wishing to be disrespectful to any Japanese readers it seems that a netsuke is a... erm... toggle!
The seller has written a long and forceful description and really gone on the hard sell but I have to take issue with him/her over one thing. They describe the Netsuke as being a "beautifully carved and erotic wood netsuke of a half naked erotic mermaid posing with her long fin." Now, let's ignore the double use of the word "erotic" and instead focus on the description? Is she really "half naked?" I don't think so. She is a mermaid. She is half-human and half-fish but both halves are fully naked.
Anyway, the seller really went to work providing practical details, ("the piece on offer here is 5.5cm in length"/"the netsuke is signed by the artist") as well as pure salesmanship, ("the detailed work on both the mermaids body, face and tail is exceptional"/"these pieces will probably increase in value over time so there is an investment opportunity")
Hmm... well, I suppose one has to admire the seller's listing technique. Whether Paul bought it as an investment or because of the carving's erotic appeal we can only guess at. What I can tell you is that he was the only bidder and that he paid £4.99 for the item plus £2.75 for postage and packaging.
I'm sure Paul will enjoy his 5.5cm long, Japanese carving of a completely naked mermaid. Not a lot!