Posted 4 years ago
I felt in love with these two doggies (a Welsh Corgi and an Akita Inu) the moment I saw them at the shop-window. And I guess you would too.
These are pretty recent figurines... can't tell for how long they've been making them at T-Lab, but they are so 2010's! They are made in whitewood, that's a soft cheap wood commonly used in the making of models, so they are very light.
What I love about them is that the simplicity of their shape. No matter how complicated the shape of an animal may be, they have reduced it to the simplest recognizable level... Also the fact of they been made in wood gives them a very special character... Simmilar simplification of shapes in animal is to be found in the Sargadelos porcelain otter and badger I shared hee a few years ago ( https://www.collectorsweekly.com/stories/81356-badger-sargadelos-spain?in=collection-2357 ), or in the Lisa Larsson's ceramic dogs ( https://www.collectorsweekly.com/stories/83522-bullterrier-lisa-larson-gustavsberg?in=collection-2442 and https://www.collectorsweekly.com/stories/40110-lisa-larsons-bulldog-for-gustavsberg?in=collection-2442 ), but being made in wood gives them a special texture and warmth that reminds me a lot of the Japanese netsukes, the miniature sculptures made in Japan in 17th Century. Those made in porcelain or ceramics are just great, but these Tlab animals have also the value of both the touch and the artisan work.
I cannot find the website where I got all the information about them when I bought mine (which i did in a shop in downtown Madrid, but they're for sale virtually all over the internet). They are hand carved & painted, and though they are Japanese in design, they are made somewhere in South East Asia (Laos or Cambodia... cannot remeber, sorry), and I wish I was sure about it but I seem to recall they're made by people with some mental dissability... what I remember is that they get the blocks roughly cut in the shape of the different animals and these artisans give the final shape (liming and sandpapering them) and paint the different details. So even if they're made probably by the hundreds they are hand finished and each one is different to the rest.
On the last picture you can see a display of different animals in the series... The ones with the white background are some of my favourites. The hedgehog is just amazing, and the rabbit I love because it is very, very close to the traditional concept of netsuke that I mentioned before. I wish I could post one more pic, but at least here's the link to the image of the famous hare with amber eyes netsuke made in Osaka by Masatoshi around 1880: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Netsuke#/media/File:Ivory_netsuke_of_the_Hare_with_Amber_Eyes_2.JPG