Description

This is a beautiful mammoth ivory sculpture of three half naked geishas. Look at the pristine clean-cut lines, the delicate curve of the bodies and the enchanting expressions on their faces. Geishas played an important role in the Japanese society and entertained men with songs, dance and conversations. The Master Carver has managed to portray the more erotic side of the geishas, with panache.  Notice the delineated carvings and lines which add to the allure of the erotic half-naked geishas.

Half naked erotic geishas

Look at how the artist has managed to carve the ancient mammoth ivory into an exquisite piece of art. One of the geishas is lying down with crossed legs while the dress just covers her midriff and is completely naked otherwise. Don’t miss the beautiful hand painted motifs that are painstakingly done on the cloth that is wrapped around her hips.

The other two geisha are sitting down with elaborate hairstyles that have been coiffured in the latest style. Notice the combs and other hair accessories that hold up the hair.  See how the anatomy of the bodies has been perfectly sculpted. The bare breasts and well-defined legs and hips give the erotic look to the relaxing geisha. One of the geisha has a flower cupped in one of the hands while the other one is at the back, holding the third geisha’s hands.

Playful and naked geisha

Don’t miss the tattoos on the legs of the third geisha, the one that is sitting at the end. These look spectacular when you consider the amount of work the artist has put to etch and then hand paint each petal and flower in shades of green, red and brown. Look at back to notice the curve of the spine, the tightening of the hand-fist of the geisha that is laying down.  The Master carver has intricately carved all the parts of the nude body with much details, including the private regions, which are visible when you see the bottom of the sculpture. Each toe, finger and even the facial expressions are carved with all tiny details visually apparent.

Fossil ivory or mammoth ivory tusk is procured from the modified two upper incisors of the Woolly mammoth. This fossil ivory or Mastodon ivory is harvested from the fossilized remains of the wooly mammoths (Mammuthus primigenius) that have been extinct since the last 10,000 years. The remains of these huge animals are found in Siberia, Alaska and other regions of Russia. The fossilized ivory is a precious commodity which is extracted from the permafrost and thus, has high antique and historical value. The Mammoth ivory is as good as elephant ivory when it comes to its quality and luster.

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Mammoth carcasses have been found mostly in Alaska and Siberia under the deep permafrost. In Alaska and Siberia, the constant ongoing tussle between the archeologists and mammoth ivory traders continues with the increase in demand of mammoth ivory as it is the only legal ivory that is used to create some of the most beautiful sculptures.

Even after there are enforced laws that protect Alaska’s ancient heritage and history, there are people that just don’t care. There are numerous interstate commercial traders dealing in illegal mining of whalebone, walrus ivory and mammoth tusks on public land to create jewelry, sculptures, scrimshaws and assorted art pieces.

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In recent years, there has been an increase in the demand of mammoth ivory which has led to an unquenchable proportion. But if you look at the current scenario, mammoth ivory is non replenishable. There are only limited mammoth ivory that can be extracted from the fossilized carcass and how long can that be done?

Most researchers have estimated about over 9 million carcasses are still buried under the deep permafrost in the Tundra regions and about the same number are available to be harvested in the higher regions in China. There is a high demand of mammoth ivory in China where not only do sculptors need this powerful medium to carve and sculpt but traditional herbal medicine practitioners require the low quality mammoth ivory chips and dust to put into traditional medicines.

After the banning of elephant ivory in 1999, fossil ivory became much in demand as an alternative medium to elephant ivory. However, there is another aspect of paleontologists and archeologists to harvesting ivory. According to them, excavating the carcass for harvesting the tusks, which has been buried for centuries and converted into a fossil leads to damage of scientific data. But fossil ivory traders have a different view and claim that it is better to unearthed the precious material from the soil and sculpt it for people to enjoy the beauty of ageless ivory.

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Fossil ivory or mammoth ivory is sensitive to surrounding temperature and harsh climatic conditions have an adverse impact. Due to its sensitivity to humidity and temperature, when it expands and contracts, it can split due to stress. We ensure that only the purest of ivory is used that is free of any imperfection after being acclimatized for a number of years above ground. To protect your ivory, it is recommended that you rub mineral oil twice a year to replenish its natural oils. Renaissance Wax can be used to give it a protective polished shine.

However, please bear in mind and do not:

Spill or put ink on ivory
Make the ivory wet
Put the ivory in direct sunlight
Let the ivory heat up or freeze
Expose the ivory to fluctuations in temperature and humidity

Basic differences between Elephant ivory and mammoth ivory

Using the angles of Schreger lines in Mammoth ivory can differentiate between elephant ivory and fossil ivory. You can see this reflected in the cross section photographs of both elephant and mammoth ivory.

Schreger lines in Elephant Ivory Schreger lines in Mammoth Ivory
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It is clearly reflected in the photos that the angle of Schreger lines on the mammoth ivory are less than 90 degrees while those on elephant ivory are more than 115 degrees. This is the best way to do differentiate between the two ivories.

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Wooly mammoths have been extinct for the past 10,000 years unlike Asian and African elephants so mammoth ivory is not listed in the Appendices to the CITES nor is mammoth ivory subject to control as per the listed Animals and Plants (Protection of Endangered Species) Ordinance, Cap. 187. Mammoth ivory is a precious relic of the past that has been well preserved in the coldest tundra regions of Siberia and Alaska. Thus, mammoths or Mammuthus primigenus is an extinct proboscidan and the only legal source of high grade precious ivory that can be used for carvings.

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