“Terrifyingly beautiful” is what comes to mind when I look at Senju’s work.  After I have had a chance to take it all in I am just left asking myself how on earth he manages to achieve the effects and intricacy the likes of which I think defeat comparison (in the silver world at any rate).  It was only when I started to read Senju’s personal blog that the answer became pretty obvious – he is actually more of a sculptor than jewelery designer who specialises in one of my personal favorite materials – ivory (not from elephants – don’t worry).  As it turns out he makes excruciatingly beautiful buttons, netsuke and larger sculptures to order and has only relatively recently began using the exact same techniques to produce wax molds for silver jewelery.

With that in mind I can definitely see the influences of netsuke in his work – the sense of movement, the slight showing-off at producing deliberately difficult effects and also an attention to his subject.  In Senju’s case, the skull is his muse and in art terms I could draw comparisons to 1700 German carvings, but to my mind he is a true original.

Katharsis (top-left) is such an achievement from every angle and has to be the stand-out piece from his current collection.  The ring (top-center) with the man coming out of the skull as a tongue is a bit too horrific for my tastes, but again manages to be original – which in a skull ring is a challenge!

I managed to find another example of his work produced to order for a fan and carved in wood with antler teeth.

The man himself is a bit of a biker, but very approacable by all accounts if you want to partake – he has no Tokyo stockist as of yet.

I do think that a background in carving really separates out the true silversmiths from the crowd.  After all, Armand from Crazy Pig Designs carves in Tagua nuts and traditionally Japanese silver molds were carved in wood.  At any rate, Senju is one artists who can do no wrong in my eyes.

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7 Responses to Senju The Sculptor

  1. […] a guy who relies purely on sculpture to achieve this impact, not unlike my other recent discovery Senju.  What is criminal about both those brands is that if I had not tripped over them at various trade […]

  2. Clare says:

    I just saw the Katharsis ring for sale through Japanese store “Lunatic Nights”. I was beside myself to think I could actually buy this piece online. However, the forms are all in Japanese with no apparent option to translate into English (unlike the product pages). Damn! They also sell LegioMade (I was directed to the Lunatic Nights dealer from his website) and a number of other brands I’m coveting. Hoping I can work out a way to do business!

  3. Clare says:

    Hey, I think I’ve worked it out by googling “Rakuten overseas purchase”. A whole new world has just opened!

  4. Clare says:

    Oh, me again. There is a warning on the Senju product page at the above site, which refers to fake/replica Senju goods. Due to the bad translation, I can’t tell if they’re alerting customers to the fact that the goods they are selling are actually replicas, not the real deal, or conversely, are they warning customers to beware of fakes sold elsewhere? I never buy counterfeit – I support the original artists.
    Can you shed any light on this Samuel? Can you read original Japanese text? The (very long) link is below.


  5. Samuel says:

    @ Clare

    (Removed the link as it was so long it was messing with the formatting!)

    The warning in Japanese basically says that Senju fakes have been confirmed by a number of different sources, so please be careful when buying elswhere. It certainly does not mean that they are selling fakes!

    Unfortunately there are so many fakes out there online, and it really annoys me when they are copying small designers rather than the endless CH fakes. I would never risk a purchase online where it was not coming from an official source (the above is official). I have heard horror stories of a real product being shown in auctions, but a different one shipped. By and large the Japanese marketplace is pretty honest and people will rarely claim something is real when it isn’t, but even at a 5% risk, that is still pretty bad on an expensive item.

    Let me know if you need help with anything else,


  6. Clare says:

    Thanks so much Samuel. I figured this was a reputable source and it would definitely be odd to actually admit to selling replicas. Even so, when you’re not dealing directly with the artist, combined with the ambiguity of the translation, I thought it would pay to check with someone who has a “direct line to the real Japan”.
    Regarding fakes, I’ve heard stories that even CH won’t authenticate second hand items now, supposedly to discourage the resale trade on Ebay and, I suspect, because some fakes are pretty damn good.
    I read a story from a guy who bought genuine CH , direct from the maker to be sure it was the real thing, and when he returned it for resizing, they refused on the grounds that it was a fake! He produced the sales receipt as proof of the original purchase but was a little non-plussed that they couldn’t tell the difference.
    I would have thought Senju would be pretty hard to copy, but then, never having handled the real thing, how would I know?
    Thanks again for your help, Samuel.

  7. Samuel says:

    @ Clare

    No problem, I completely understand, and I am glad that I can help. I have only ever got burned once… But mercifully it was a very small loss.

    Second-hand Chrome Hearts and Lone Ones is almost impossible to authenticate as so much of it has been copied from flawless replica molds and finished with a level of detail that is comprable to the original. You would think what with that level of skill they would create something new, but sad to think that there is more money in fakes than originality.

    By the time something has been bashed around for a year or two I would personally struggle to tell with certain fakes even when handled. The only people who can avoid it entirely these days are people like Senju or Bloody Mary who put in so much tiny details and effects with lasers which get lost in the copying process. Alternatively Stop Light avoids the problem by putting in a K18 seal of authenticity on his premium items so they are too expensive to fake.

    Anyway, enjoy your shopping!


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