john clare

Netsuke - A Quail Tale


Quail's Nest

Poem by John Clare (1793 – 1864)

I wandered out one rainy day
And heard a bird with merry joys
Cry 'wet my foot' for half the way;
I stood and wondered at the noise, 

When from my foot a bird did flee--
The rain flew bouncing from her breast
I wondered what the bird could be,
And almost trampled on her nest. 

The nest was full of eggs and round--
I met a shepherd in the vales,
And stood to tell him what I found.
He knew and said it was a quail's, 

For he himself the nest had found,
Among the wheat and on the green,
When going on his daily round,
With eggs as many as fifteen. 

Among the stranger birds they feed,
Their summer flight is short and low;
There's very few know where they breed,
And scarcely any where they go. 

Quail Carving


Quail Print


Original Netsuke 'Quail (鶉)Crouching over 2 Ears of Millet' from Bristol Museum. Signed Okatomo - Japan.

BBC Tweet of the Day (2mins)

"The Sōken Kishō - (Strange and Wonderful Sword Fittings by Inaba Tsūryū) - published 1781 - of the seven volumes that make up this work, the last comprises a supplement on netsuke, with additional sections on inrō and ojime. The information It contained in the Sōken Kishō formed the backbone of netsuke studies and the West until the twentieth century. Okatomo (active 1781) - mentioned in the Sōken Kishō is widely associated with with netsuke of bird subject, especially quail and millet." Japanese Netsuke (Far Eastern Series / Victoria and Albert Museum)