Netsuke carvings: kimono accessories, miniature masterpieces

By The Kimono Company on 26/07/2014

netsuke in kimono sash

Japanese men used to hang personal items such as money pouches and tobacco from their kimono sash by means of a silk cord. A small toggle attached to the top of the cord prevented it from slipping through the sash. These toggles - 'netsuke' - began life with a practical purpose, but were soon developed by craftsmen into miniature masterpieces and highly fashionable items.

Netsuke were intricately carved ornaments from ivory, wood, coral, semi-precious stones or other materials, and depicted a vast range of subjects. Original pieces from the 18th-19th centuries are now much sought after by collectors and command high prices, but inexpensive modern reproductions are also available. We hope you enjoy our selection of netsuke below.

netsuke horse goldfish and cicada

Horse, goldfish and cicada

Neck wrestling netsuke and sleeping student netsuke

Neck wrestling netsuke, sleeping student netsuke

Netsuke collage

Buddha netsuke (mammoth ivory), geisha and crane (ivory); at top right is a netsuke of a bird on a roof tile, with silk cord and lacquered container

netsuke general on horse

Chinese general crossing a river on his horse (V&A Museum)

Tags: japanese kimono | netsuke | kimono accessories

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