This book is a very powerful true life story about Japanese sculptural artworks which have remained within the same family for several generations. The study of the netsukes’ creation and its fascinating journey is undertaken by its present inheritor, Edmund de Waal, an art historian. Edmund discovers that the netsukes have survived war and economic gloom, and have been beset by major obstacles. These artistic gems have endured the test of time remaining perfectly polished and preserved when Edmund inherited them.
The netsukes must have been special, symbolic, possibly spirit akin to the human spirit; the human spirit displayed by courageous forbears of Edmund’s family; the spirit determined to safeguard these treasures throughout many turbulent years.
How we as humans perceive artistic creativity can be very profound. Art can bring meaning to our lives, strengthen bereft spirits.
I strongly believe that consciously or unconsciously the netsukes were deeply ingrained in the psyche of Edmund’s ancestors and they became inseparable. It seems somewhat miraculous that Edmund inherited these iconic artistic heirlooms filled with irreplaceable memories.
Shipley Reading Group
19th February 2013