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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.
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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.
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.
Like Hirshler, de Waal focuses on people, and not the netsuke.
Netsuke, the book reveals, barely, are rare figurines carved by Japanese Masters of the form that the doctor's wife, Akiko, a visual artist of apparent renown, bestows upon her husband as tokens of something other than affection; her increasingly uneasy commitment or her unconscious knowing of the man to whom she is married.
The artwork featured in this month's Clip & Save Art Print, a netsuke (commonly pronounced net-skeh) depicting a monkey with her young child, is as adorable as it is small.
Open it up and you will be drawn into a beguiling story ostensibly tracing the history of 264 Japanese netsuke, small carvings made from ivory or wood, collected in the 1880s by a cousin of de Waal's great grandfather.
The Hare With Amber Eyes is a wondrous book, as lustrous and exquisitely crafted as the netsuke at its heart.
From Damsels and Demons: The Hidden Art of Netsuke Carving" opens Saturday and runs through July 5 at Portland Japanese Garden.
In "Badger Disguised as a Monk," inspired by a Japanese netsuke, the enchanted creature tells us, "All motion is forward for a soul / with a pockmarked, bitten past.
The intricately- carved miniature objects - called netsuke - were amassed by Jonas Gadelius, who grew up in Japan and was a member of a Swedish steel manufacturing family.