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TOP > Newsletter > back Number Vol.9

SAGEMONOYA Newsletter back Number Vol.9

Dragons and Amaryu

Firstly, I would like to express my sincere condolences to those affected by the devastating torrential rain which hit western Japan starting the full moon night of 28 June until 8 July, one day after the Tanabata festival…

Just as Tokyo reached its highest temperature ever on Monday with a scorching 41.1 degrees Celsius, the heatwave seemed to have struck most regions of Japan.

As much as we benefit from thousands of rivers and canals in this country, we also have a history of taking measures at critical times against floods and droughts, and the incredible images of violent muddy streams have been likened to Mizuchi (legendary serpent-like creature) and dragons since the ancient times.

Serious prayers have been offered to deities, especially to bring about abundance under mild weather, without heavy rain nor drought.


from 題簽欠 Author unknown (published 1781)

As water prevents fire from spreading, water-themed designs have become popular for tobacco accessories during the Edo period. Many dragon subjects could be found among pieces made during this time.

Dragon   Netsuke

Dragon Netsuke Kyoto school 18th C 61㎜

Dragon   Kiseruzutsu
Dragon   Kiseruzutsu
Dragon   Kiseruzutsu

Dragon Kiseruzutsu Wood 18th C 39.3㎝

Dragon  Tonkotsu

Dragon Tonkotsu Bamboo 19th C 9.4㎝

Dragon   Inro

Dragon Inro signed SHINSHINSAI Painted Wood 19th C  9.8㎝

Dragon in Tachibana   Netsuke

Dragon in Tachibana Netsuke signed TOMOMITSU 19th C 38㎜

A type of dragon known as rain dragon (雨龍 pronounced Amaryu or Amaryo), also called “螭” (pronounced Chi), has a sophisticated scaleless appearance which could be found among Netsuke and Sagemono motifs.

Amaryu is said to be the final stage of form before morphing fully into a dragon, just like some ” Shusse-uo” (fish that are called by different names as they grow larger). These “pre-dragons” have been highly regarded as an auspicious omen and design relating to water.

Amaryu  (ashtray) Netsuke Amaryu  (ashtray) Netsuke

Amaryu (ashtray) Netsuke KARAMONOYA KYUBEI 18th C 48㎜(L)31㎜(S)

Amaryu’s long body and tail are skillfully designed as Himotoshi.

Twin Amaryu		Gold inlaid iron

Twin Amaryu Gold inlaid iron 18th C 34㎜  Constellation the Big Dipper on reverse side

Twin Amaryu   Netsuke

Twin Amaryu Netsuke Suaka (refined copper) early 19th C 38㎜

Twin Amaryu is also known as the design on the
Buddhist crest of Nanzen-ji Temple.

Amaryu and Landscape		Inro

Amaryu and Landscape Inro Karaki wood Early 19th C 90㎜

Amaryu   Bokuto

Amaryu Bokuto Black Persimmon 18th C 51.2㎝

Amaryu   Netsuke

Amaryu Netsuke Ivory 19th C 54㎜

Amaryu and dragon subjects could contain a message; once the fine balance of natural environment established over infinite time is destroyed, it is almost irreparable. I hope to convey such idea to our next generation.

Yukari Yoshida

SAGEMONOYA Newsletter back Number