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Toggles Led To Netsuke

Mar 3, 2008
Before the carved Netsuke were created, the very first Netsuke were made of roots and twigs for the purpose of toggles. No matter the type of beautifully carved containers, it was the well crafted Netsuke toggle needed for security of the personal belongings being carried. The materials of metal would be used for accented types of Netsuke styles. Several other types of carving materials are coral, horn bill ivory clay, porcelain, lacquer and woven cane. The black coral and the helmeted horn bill ivory are used in Netsuke, they are rarely used compared to the other desired carving materials for Netsuke.

At the beginning of the 17th century the artistic Japanese created the functioning and practical miniature sculpture of the Netsuke. The translated definition of Netsuke is "root" and "to suspend or hang". Before the carved Netsuke were created, the very first Netsuke were made of roots and twigs for the purpose of toggles. These toggles were invented for the practical use of hanging pouches, small woven baskets or small crafted boxes for carrying desired personal items on them. Since men's traditional Japanese clothes had no pockets, these types of personal toggled carriers were very handy for pipes, seals, medicines, tobacco and money. These various types of removable containers were worn at the waist for convenience.

These conveniently elegant containers were most always done in a very artistic manner and usually associated with the Japanese historical folklore and life lessons. No matter the type of beautifully carved containers, it was the well crafted Netsuke toggle needed for security of the personal belongings being carried. The most popular time period of the Netsuke productions was during Japanese Edo period around 1615-1868. In the Netsuke artistic market of today, may very in a wide variation of prices ranging from 30.00 dollars of a molded reproduction model to a intricately hand carved one of a kind collectible Netsuke that can run 10,000 dollars or more in the worldly auction circuits.

For the "real" Netsuke carvings there are several various types of very nice materials used. The most common material used to be ivory, before harvesting ivory became illegal. Next in line was was Mammoth ivory. Then the second most popular material would be the boxwood and other hardwoods. The materials of metal would be used for accented types of Netsuke styles. Another ivory substitute is today the Hippopotamus tooth and the boar tusk. The Rhinoceros horn carves very well. Several other types of carving materials are coral, horn bill ivory clay, porcelain, lacquer and woven cane. The black coral and the helmeted horn bill ivory are used in Netsuke, they are rarely used compared to the other desired carving materials for Netsuke.

The variations of Netsuke characters are forms of people, animals, plants, plant products, deities, mythical creatures, non-living material items and abstract references. There may be a sexual content subtle or otherwise. There is also the Netsuke representing single simple everyday objects or even depictions of entire historical or mythological scenes or literature references.
About the Author
Anita Satin Choudhary writes for Ivory and Art Gallery. Browse the gallery for unique collection of artifacts ranging from Netsuke to Porcelain and mammoth Ivory.
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