I have wanted for some years to revisit the netsuke world which I was immersed in some years ago. What is a netsuke? See http://www.netsuke.org/Default.aspx?pageId=1125375
Having also dipped(so-to-speak) back into the Japanese water-casting(yuwake) earlier in the year I wanted to make something from a nice little shibuichi (copper/silver alloy) ingot produced then. This process involves pouring the molten alloy (70% copper, 30% silver and a bit of gold) into a cotton cradle submersed in water. This leaves the alloy quite oxide and gas free.
The obvious convergence of these impulses is a type of netsuke known as a kagamibuta(mirror-lid), which typically have a metal plate set into a bowl made most often of ivory or wood. It has been at least 20 years, I think, since I last made one of these so I was interested to see what I would bring to it with a bit more skill (letís hope!) and some different aesthetics as well.
Hereís a first look. The photo doesnít do justice to the nashiji(pear-skin) grain in the shibuichi and Iíll try to get a better photo of that. The smaller photo shows the piece roughly to scale (40mm diameter). The inlays are copper and gold. The wood is Ziricote.