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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



an ornamental piece of sculpture measuring from 2 to 10 cm high and made from wood, ivory, or metal. Netsukes were popular in Japan from the late 17th to the 19th century. They were used as toggles to attach a pipe or a tobacco pouch to the sash of a kimono.

The best-known types of netsukes were figurines, which were sometimes arranged to form entire compositions dealing with religious, folkloric, historical, and genre subjects. Other popular netsukes resembled flat disks and often had a carved metallic insert in the center. Netsuke figures maintain an overall monolithic plastic quality, although they are often very emotionally expressive and are fine and accurate in detail. Famous netsuke masters included Suzan (18th century), Rusa (second half of the 18th century), and Tamotada (late 18th and early 19th centuries).


Ueda Reikichi. The Netsuke Handbook. Tokyo, 1961.
Wolf, R. Die Welt der Netsue. Wiesbaden, 1970.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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But of course, the appreciation for netsuke shouldn't be dependent on how much monetary value it possesses.
Netsuke was attached to the other end of the cord to prevent the cord from slipping through the obi.
Netsuke are ornamental toggles made mainly out of ivory or wood and used to fasten things to the sash of a kimono.
Netsuke are still being carved and are highly respected art forms.
With the transition to European dress, the use of netsuke declined, nearly disappearing by the first quarter of the 20th century.
He discovered pottery at age five; he is an English literature graduate of Cambridge University with a commitment to poetry; after graduation he won a scholarship to study in Japan and he subsequently learnt the language, was exposed to varied Japanese arts, researched the Leach book and saw the netsuke at his great-great uncle's Tokyo home.
Netsuke are usually accompanied by an ojime, and were intended to secure the inro to the obi...
Bronze casts of Javanese fruit bats appear as gargoyle-like figurines--they "hang" if one follows the spatial twist that suggests the carpet as ceiling--in the supports of two larger shelves that hold accordion-style books displaying stretched photographs of netsuke. Here, the artist links his own biography with that of De Waal: One of three collages, hidden behind the brass-mirror facade, portrays Clark's mother in front of an eighteenth-century vitrine displaying her own collection of Japanese ceramics and netsuke.
The family would be scattered to the four corners of the globe, its possessions--everything except, miraculously, the netsuke, hidden by a maid in her mattress--stolen.
The realistic artistry on many of the netsukes in the auction simply must be seen to be believed.
A noted British ceramicist, he ties his chronicle to a collection of 264 netsuke, small Japanese button-like figures carved from various materials, including ivory and boxwood.