Collecting Netsuke Figures
As the national costume of Japan, the Kimono
didnít have pockets; objects such as an inro, purse, drinking gourd or tobacco pouch which were usually hung from a cord at the waist. The cord was attached to a netsuke , (pronounced netski
) which simply fastened the kimono and was held in place by pressure.
netsuke were simple wooden toggles but they became more elaborate and carving reached a sustained peak in the 18th Century. They were usually made from wood or ivory but can be found of Bone
and Stag horn
, Turtle Shell
or even Metal
The subjects carved are more numerous than the carvers, of whom over 3000 have been identified, but two of the main groups are those depicting characters from Japanese folk history ( Mukashi, Banashi and Sugata
)- depictions of various craftsmen.
was also a popular subject and examplesquite often took the form of young women indulging or being indulged by, sea monsters and mythological characters.
came from areas of high population, such as Osaka
, and Edo
where carvers could make a good living.
declined around 1868 when western style dress with pockets became popular. The influx of tourists however, were eager for souvenirs of old Japan creating a large market for netsuke. Vast numbers of a rather inferior quality, compared to earlier ones, were exported to Europe and America.
CLICK HERE for INTERNATIONAL NETSUKE SOCIETY
CLICK HERE for Japanese Reign Periods
If you would like to contribute, any information about Netsuke Figures or have a website you would like a reciprecal link to, please get in touch by completing this short form