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The Raymond and Frances Bushell collection of Netsuke - Hollis Goodall
The Raymond and Frances Bushell collection of Netsuke - Hollis Goodall


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    Art Media Resources
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The Raymond and Frances Bushell collection of Netsuke

A Legacy at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Hollis Goodall

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Netsuke are Japanese miniature sculptures used as counterweights for objects suspended from a man's sash. This art form peaked during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, when carvers produced masterpieces in a vast range of materials and subjects. Raymond Bushell was considered one of the foremost experts on netsuke in the world, and the works he and his wife, Frances, gave to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art are a distillation of the finest netsuke collection ever formed. It includes superb examples by all of the netsuke masters as well as artists who produced comparatively few netsuke, and examples of rare subjects and unusual materials. In The Raymond and Frances Bushell Collection of Netsuke: A Legacy at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, exquisite color photography and scholarly insights bring alive this amazing tradition. It features more than 820 netsuke, with accompanying text that gives a complete overview of changing tastes in netsuke collecting and carving throughout its history and into the present day. Each netsuke has a detailed description that places the subject in the context of Japanese life and history, and gives important information about the carver or technique. The enormous variety of netsuke subjects are thoroughly examined, including famous battles and samurai, kabuki and noh actors and plays, scandalous stories, animals and imaginary creatures, Buddhist sages, and Shinto rituals. Essays by Hollis Goodall and Sebastian Izzard examine the sources of subject matter, development of regional styles, and trends in Japanese art as reflected in netsuke. Odile Madden discusses techniques used by carvers to create ivory netsuke. Virginia Atchley, Neil Davey,and Robert T. Singer describe the art of netsuke, Raymond Bushell as a collector, and his relationship with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Also included are maps of ancient and modern Japan, an illustrated reference of 535 artists' signatures, a glossary, and a detailed index. With 827 netsuke and 20 inro shown in more than 1,000 color illustrations, this catalogue will delight and inform netsuke collectors and initiate other art lovers into this expressive and beautiful art form.

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