Views: 166 (78 Unique) 
Vote 49
Award Shortlist   


By Maiwand
Netsuke (根付?) are miniature sculptures that were invented in 17th-century Japan to serve a practical function (the two Japanese characters ne+tsuke mean "root" and "to attach"). Traditional Japanese garments—robes called kosode and kimono—had no pockets; however, men who wore them needed a place to store their personal belongings, such as pipes, tobacco, money, seals, or medicines.

Their solution was to place such objects in containers (called sagemono) hung by cords from the robes' sashes (obi). The containers may have been pouches or small woven baskets, but the most popular were beautifully crafted boxes (inrōWink, which were held shut by ojime, which were sliding beads on cords. Whatever the form of the container, the fastener that secured the cord at the top of the sash was a carved, button-like toggle called a netsuke.

Netsuke, like the inrō and ojime, evolved over time from being strictly utilitarian into objects of great artistic merit and an expression of extraordinary craftsmanship. Such objects have a long history reflecting the important aspects of Japanese folklore and life. Netsuke production was most popular during the Edo period in Japan, around 1615-1868. Today, the art lives on, and some modern works can command high prices in the UK, Europe, the USA, Japan and elsewhere. Inexpensive yet faithful reproductions are available in museums and souvenir shops.

I have a modest collection of these Netsuke. I find the quality of the carving to be quite delightful and I like them just to look at. I hope that you will also.
V1 is a carving of Shoki the demon queller seated with an attendant demon.
V2 is a hardwood and ivory depicting an old man carrying a bird in a cage.
V3 is an ivory carving of a youth covered in a fish skin

Tags: General Specialist Carving

Voters: mauriceegan, shishidog, Louise_Morris and 46 more

Readers' Choice Awards are given to photos that get over 30 votes

Take your photography to the next level and beyond...

  • NEWS

Why not join for free today?

Join for Free

Your total photography experience starts here


22 Jun 2013 8:48PM
The skill shown in these little miniature carvings is amazing. I used to have one but I now regret having sold it. There are many reproductions and you should never ever consider collecting them until you can tell the difference.

Join ePHOTOzine for free and remove these adverts.

Maiwand 11 3 73 England
22 Jun 2013 8:54PM
Thanks for the comment shishidog. I lay no claim to a 'learned' collection and I do not regard mine as overly valuable. I just enjoy them for the pleasure of looking at them and handling them.
22 Jun 2013 9:01PM
I have seen models such as these at Antique Fairs and always find them quite fascinating. I was pleased to read your info on them - most interesting Ron. I think we all collect something in one form or another - many of us on here would say cameras or lenses I suspect. Wink Smile

A very well presented set and thanks for sharing your models with us!

Hope you are going along OK, take care,

RonnieAG Plus
8 154 118 Scotland
22 Jun 2013 9:11PM
Very well captured set of these fascinating and expensive objects, Ron: have seen many on the Antiques Road Show but nine as fine as these.
David Batty would have a field day with this lot.
fentiger Plus
16 918 24 England
22 Jun 2013 9:37PM
Excellent still life studies.

NeilWigan Plus
7 17 16 England
22 Jun 2013 9:51PM
The skill and patience of the carvers is something to marvel at.
Ade_Osman 15 4.5k 36 England
22 Jun 2013 9:56PM
Worth a few bob too I would imagine.......Good stuff Ron and a great narrative to boot. I just love EPZ, you learn something new everyday Wink

lonely_oryx 10 61 55 England
22 Jun 2013 10:27PM
Fascinating subjects
richmowil Plus
9 334 2 England
22 Jun 2013 10:40PM
Excellent information and images!! I like them a lot!!
22 Jun 2013 10:52PM
Great set of images Ron the light and detail is spot on
taggart Plus
13 47 13 United States
23 Jun 2013 1:31AM
I enjoyed your text-- will be on the lookout for one of these-- a beautiful set!
Daisymaye Plus
9 23 16 Canada
23 Jun 2013 5:20AM
Lovely figurines and worth a lot of money. Great captures of them......Sandy
Hermanus 5 4 South Africa
23 Jun 2013 5:56AM
Great write up and lovely images Smile
CarolG 11 199 20 Greece
23 Jun 2013 6:12AM
What unusual, and very pleasing, miniatures, very well captured. Carol
Maiwand 11 3 73 England
23 Jun 2013 6:59AM
Thanks very much everyone..
23 Jun 2013 7:47AM
supervb shot and the write up is wonderful too
johnjo58 7 2 5 United Kingdom
23 Jun 2013 8:39AM
I love these wonderful little gems Ron. Thanks for the info and the great pictures

rayme330 6 17 1 United Kingdom
23 Jun 2013 9:05AM
Great series, excellently captured and presented, Ron. Interesting info. too.

23 Jun 2013 9:27AM
What a fascinating set of images, Ron!
Such interesting information, too! Thank you!

CaroleS Plus
7 433 3 United Kingdom
23 Jun 2013 9:40AM
A most interesting narrative to these fine images. I do like the way the artist has captured the facial expressions.
jasonrwl Plus
8 1.1k 10 United Kingdom
23 Jun 2013 10:45AM
Thank you for sharing these Ron - beautiful objects superbly photographed
FeatherFriend 10 38 217 England
23 Jun 2013 11:49AM
A lovely set Ron and something quite different from you. Great little ornaments and photographed beautifully, enjoyed the write up too, very informative,
A Booth 15 11 4 United Kingdom
23 Jun 2013 12:09PM
excellent set, nicely composed and presented with a very interesting storyline.
Greyheron 16 282 7 England
23 Jun 2013 3:56PM
You have more than done these beautiful artefacts justice Ron - superb work and a lovely collection too. Enjoyed looking at the collection in the V & A a while ago Grin

bricurtis Plus
12 2.2k 49 England
23 Jun 2013 8:20PM
Beautifully photographed and presented Ron - interesting and appealing little sculptures as is the narrative.
annettep38 Plus
6 218 40 Costa Rica
23 Jun 2013 10:47PM
very interesting write-up. You have done them great justice in your pictures, it shows your interest!
My aunt who lived some 8 or ten years in Japan came back with a great knowledge of Japanese language and culture, she had organised an exposition in the Japanese trade mission . I remember some inro that I admired a lot as a kid and the whole exposition had no more frequent visitor than me after school.
Mike_Smith Plus
10 476 1 United Kingdom
24 Jun 2013 7:15PM
Really interesting Ron, and great images too
25 Jun 2013 1:26PM
Superb set of images of these lovely miniatures, Ron. Very interesting info as well.
25 Jun 2013 10:24PM
Lovely shots and love the write up. So interesting and informative. Cathy
Glostopcat 12 255 2 England
26 Jun 2013 9:02PM
A cracking set of carved characters Ron, some fascinating information about them too. When I saw v2 I thought that was a self portrait!WinkGrinTongue
Maiwand 11 3 73 England
27 Jun 2013 3:55PM
Thanks Ed. You could be quite near the truthTongueTongueTongueTongueWinkWink
30 Jun 2013 9:38AM
Fascinating Ron and beautifully captured. Thanks for an interesting and informative write up. A

Sign In

You must be a member to leave a comment.

ePHOTOzine, the web's friendliest photography community.

Join For Free

Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more.