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Types And Sizes Of Japanese Netsuke

May 13, 2008
Netsuke was the functional pieces of art worn with the original Japanese Kimono. One of the most commonly known Netsuke styles is the Katabori-Netsuke. The Sashi-Netsuke or also known as the "Stab" Netsuke, averages around 6 inches long in length and literally resembles a stick like artistic formation. The Men-Netsuke, but also known as the "Mask Netsuke" is definitely the largest in size and dimensional being. The Flat-lidded Netsuke, or the Kagami-buta Netsuke is a flattened rounded, and hollowed out piece of artistic works, that ran the average size of the palm of a hand.

The artistic works of Netsuke can be placed at its height of necessity during the Edo time period of 1603 - 1867. Netsuke was the functional pieces of art worn with the original Japanese Kimono. It was specifically the fastening toggle of the bag or sash placed around the waste of the Japanese for carrying any needed or desired objects, as we would carry in our purses or clothing pockets nowadays. But since the traditional clothing of the Japanese had no pockets, the functional formations of Netsuke was a small piece of artistic works of need, along with the beauty and wide variations of expressions pertaining to everyday life and on into areas, that were somewhat culturally taboo topics of open conversation during that time period.

There had always been numerous types of materials that the traditional Netsuke carvings were created from. Some of the known materials have been, and still are various kinds of ivories and hard woods. The sizes of Netsuke was traditionally smaller in sizes, due to being physically worn, instead of being collected and displayed the way contemporary Netsuke has overtime come to be known. Since there has always been a tradition of beautiful, expressive and even story telling formations, the Netsuke of the past moved from a functional place of daily life to a worldly collector's delight.

Due to the many variations of sizes, shapes and formations , there are many different tools that are specifically used for its carving. One of the most commonly known Netsuke styles is the Katabori-Netsuke. The more familiar name is the "Sculpture Netsuke", and the average size is only 1 inch to 3 inches in height. The Sashi-Netsuke or also known as the "Stab" Netsuke, averages around 6 inches long in length and literally resembles a stick like artistic formation. The Men-Netsuke, but also known as the "Mask Netsuke" is definitely the largest in size and dimensional being. These will be approximately the dimensions and size of a full humanistic face. The Manju-Netsuke is one of thickest, and in the rounded, flat formation, usually has a slight size variation of only the size comparable to a Japanese confection. The Flat-lidded Netsuke, or the Kagami-buta Netsuke is a flattened rounded, and hollowed out piece of artistic works, that ran the average size of the palm of a hand.

There are several different categories of Netsuke artworks, totaling seven basis formations, and more of them than not, these beautifully exquisite pieces run smaller than the average hand size, but are packed with detailed expressions. It takes many different sizes and shapes of tools for the real Netsuke carvers to work the various materials to create such unique, but yet, story telling works of art.
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 Silver Judaica.
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