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Dec 4th, '14, 17:17
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Ivory, really?

by Chip » Dec 4th, '14, 17:17

I am more than a bit stunned, tbh. Dismayed ...

I really never paid much attention to chaire, ceramic containers used in the making of koichi (edited) in chado. Since I personally do not participate in formal Japanese tea ceremonies, favoring teas like sencha and gyokuro, I never shopped for chaire nor looked into them ... only passing glances.

So, the lids are make from ivory, really? The lids can be made of anything, byproduct bone, wood, etc. Why in this day and age, ivory? In fact, I often see replacement lids for chaire made from Japanese black lacquerware.

I can see no justification for using ivory, old or new or anywhere in between.

I found myself looking at an ebay site I frequent for Japanese teaware items. The lids look like ivory but are described by the seller as, "The material of a lid is a high-quality material." Is this to avoid calling ivory, ivory?

Please enlighten me.

EDIT: TBH, since I would not consider buying ivory, I am oblivious to the laws of the USA as well as international in regards to the buying and selling of ivory made products, old or new.

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Dec 4th, '14, 17:45
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Re: Ivory, really?

by William » Dec 4th, '14, 17:45

Well Chip, you should first of all diversify this discussion between ivory from elephant and the ones from mammoth, narwhal, etc.. :)

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Re: Ivory, really?

by Chip » Dec 4th, '14, 18:31

I am talking elephant. Mammoth is fossil harvested, etc. Elephant is almost always from animals killed solely for their tusks. The carcasses are left to decompose, unused. Of course modern harvests are illegal poachings.

I have seen mammoth ivory which is sold accordingly.

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Re: Ivory, really?

by William » Dec 4th, '14, 18:39

Chip wrote:I am talking elephant. Mammoth is fossil harvested, etc. Elephant is almost always from animals killed solely for their tusks. The carcasses are left to decompose, unused.
Personally, I understand both the positions of those who are opposed to this kind of objects, since as you rightly said, the elephant is often hunted only for it.
I understand, however, those who buy antique pieces made of ivory, often with a piece of history and tradition behind it, since it is legal in many countries, behind certification, without the risk of encouraging the hunt, at least theoretically.
I understand less, those who buy modern made pieces, where the incentive for this activity is quite obvious.

What is the opinion of the other TC's members?

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Re: Ivory, really?

by ethan » Dec 4th, '14, 20:13

The white top or perhaps "lid" is the better word, looks out of place to me, as it seems to be a replacement piece for a lost or broken ceramic lid that would match the rest of the work. I think of this "mismatch" as a reality check for someone outside of that culture & tradition. Perhaps an initial reaction was ignored as one stretched to accept what is foreign to him.

As an American born in the 20th century, an ivory lid would not seem special to me nor connote value, when it does not match colorwise.

I think of my foolishness of lighting cigars w/ splits of Spanish cedar trying to taste the enhanced flavor one was supposed to get from that. I cannot say that I did taste the difference between that method & using a butane lighter, but I can say Spanish cedar smoke may be quite carcinogenic; & though I thought it was classy to light up that way, my friends & family thought my smoking was disgusting & nothing about it could make it okay.

Seeing ivory will likewise turn many people off. It can be from a walrus that was part of an alloted quota that a tribe killed for its meat-- doesn't matter to them.

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Re: Ivory, really?

by kyarazen » Dec 4th, '14, 20:33

yes there are lids made from ivory. under the influence from china during the qing dynasty there might be people using rhino horn or even asian hornbill "skulls"

but of course rhino/asian horn bill materials do not come onto the market for public access/scrutiny these days.

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Re: Ivory, really?

by debunix » Dec 4th, '14, 21:44

I wouldn't be comfortable buying even mammoth ivory: I'd worry that anything that supports the value of antique ivory encourages unscrupulous people to try to label modern ivory as antique and continue profiting from it. Better to remove avoid buying any ivory and encourage the bottom to drop out of the market for all kinds of ivory, so it won't be profitable to kill any creature for it's teeth/tusks/bones.

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by Peacock » Dec 4th, '14, 23:54

Blairswhitaker posted an ivory chashaku.. personally I don't find them to be appealing, but I understand ivory has always been considered aesthetically valuable especially in the Eastern cultures.

http://www.teachat.com/viewtopic.php?p=269667#p269667

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Re: Ivory, really?

by Chip » Dec 5th, '14, 00:10

A westerner, however could simply destroy and/or bury the lid ... and replace it with the readily available lacquerware lids. And simply because a person or culture places a value upon an item, does that justify the means?

IMHO, I find them (and ivory in general) to be an appalling human vanity at the expense of countless elephants that have been illegally poached.

Tea is such a tranquil experience, the inclusion of a possibly or likely poached tusk just seems so ... unzen-like.

BTW, this topic is not an attack upon blair, he happened to mention the ivory lid today. Before this, somehow this fact had eluded me.

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by Peacock » Dec 5th, '14, 00:33

I wasn't attacking Blair either, but once I saw that picture I immediately thought about elephants. Unfortunately there are just selfish, wicked people that look at animals and and see only what benefit they could get out of them.

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Re: Ivory, really?

by kyarazen » Dec 5th, '14, 00:44

Chip wrote:A westerner, however could simply destroy and/or bury the lid ... and replace it with the readily available lacquerware lids. And simply because a person or culture places a value upon an item, does that justify the means?

IMHO, I find them (and ivory in general) to be an appalling human vanity at the expense of countless elephants that have been illegally poached.

Tea is such a tranquil experience, the inclusion of a possibly or likely poached tusk just seems so ... unzen-like.

BTW, this topic is not an attack upon blair, he happened to mention the ivory lid today. Before this, somehow this fact had eluded me.
being "zen-like" is to adopt a tetralemmic stance to things though. but of course that might be another topic for debate else where as it risks going into religious topics.

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Re: Ivory, really?

by jayinhk » Dec 5th, '14, 00:46

Importation of both African and Asian ivory is highly illegal in the US and violates CITES rules. I'd be reporting the seller. Elephants are being massacred at a ridiculous rate--I'd be more than happy to do the fingerwork if you want to send me a link. I can probably find it with the info you've provided though! ;)

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Re: Ivory, really?

by Chip » Dec 5th, '14, 00:50

Katsuragi on ebay, something like that. He does not mention ivory, but his wording seems suspect.

Makes me wonder about other sellers on ebay and off as well. They are all in Japan.

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Re: Ivory, really?

by Chip » Dec 5th, '14, 00:53

kyarazen wrote:
Chip wrote:A westerner, however could simply destroy and/or bury the lid ... and replace it with the readily available lacquerware lids. And simply because a person or culture places a value upon an item, does that justify the means?

IMHO, I find them (and ivory in general) to be an appalling human vanity at the expense of countless elephants that have been illegally poached.

Tea is such a tranquil experience, the inclusion of a possibly or likely poached tusk just seems so ... unzen-like.

BTW, this topic is not an attack upon blair, he happened to mention the ivory lid today. Before this, somehow this fact had eluded me.
being "zen-like" is to adopt a tetralemmic stance to things though. but of course that might be another topic for debate else where as it risks going into religious topics.
True. I will rephrase. "Untea-like."

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Re: Ivory, really?

by kyarazen » Dec 5th, '14, 00:58

William wrote: Personally, I understand both the positions of those who are opposed to this kind of objects, since as you rightly said, the elephant is often hunted only for it.
I understand, however, those who buy antique pieces made of ivory, often with a piece of history and tradition behind it, since it is legal in many countries, behind certification, without the risk of encouraging the hunt, at least theoretically.
I understand less, those who buy modern made pieces, where the incentive for this activity is quite obvious.

What is the opinion of the other TC's members?
its a pretty sticky debate actually, almost impossible to come to consensus. just as sticky as those whale/dolphin hunts in europe and in japan, and the continued existence of these practices being justified as cultural preservation.

it is apparent that humans tend to ascribe different values to different types of life, i.e the life of a whale is more important / valuable than that of a tiny anchovy. similarly, the life of an endangered creature is more important / valuable than a creature in tremendously large abundance. etc etc. the list can go on.

without human influence, the food chain still goes on, i.e. elephants will still be hunted by other wild life, what if a rare tiger was found/caught gnawing on a elephant? these creatures do not live forever either, they will also grow old and die, rot and decompose, leaving behind stuffs like bone etc that do not break down well.


a side note.. i've taken a recent interest in bone items.. particularly human :D maybe human material wouldnt be as bad as endangered creature stuffs?

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