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Netsuke - Miniature Sculptures of an Bygone Age

Jun 29, 2008
The Netsuke became somewhat of an artistically and individually exception to that rule of control and dictation in societal quiet cohesiveness. This was so to at least experience a form of expressive freedom through the Netsuke toggle personally chosen to be worn upon their clothing.

Since Netsuke was best done with hard mediums of materials, different types of ceramic were used, ivory from several different animal and mammal species were used, and hard ocean corrals, along with metals of different variations were also used to make Netsuke. The katabori are of a three dimensional carving, and there is exquisite characteristic details around around the katabori Netsuke. The sashi Netsuke is recognizable for its length being more emphasized in shape and form.

All because the Japanese Kimono that was traditional clothing for everyone over 300 years ago, had no pockets, the Netsuke pieces highly valued today had only evolved out of an necessity for a need so many years ago. As far back as the 17th Century, the Netsuke was at first created to hold closed small satchels that were worn around the waste area, along with the sash or obi that held the kimono in it's proper position. The satchels were for carrying small objects of need or desire throughout the individual's day. To hold closed the satchel containing their personal belongings, was at first an ojime bead to hold closed the silk string and satchel, but the Netsuke toggle soon came along to also do the job of what the ojime piece had been doing.

These Netsuke toggles very quickly went from a necessary fastener upon the string and satchel or box, to a personally unique artistic piece of exquisite expression. Since adornment with jewelry was not a part of the Japanese culture during this time period, the Netsuke was to become one of the largest parts of openly individual expressiveness to be openly worn, during a time that the reigning empires did not allow most forms in a freedom of expression in any nature. The Netsuke became somewhat of an artistically and individually exception to that rule of control and dictation in societal quiet cohesiveness. This was so to at least experience a form of expressive freedom through the Netsuke toggle personally chosen to be worn upon their clothing.

These small Netsuke items were quickly artistically detailed and refined, to show highly crafted sophistication within every Netsuke piece created. Originally Netsuke was at first made from hard woods and lacquer coated for protection, and some would eventually have silver and gold inlays put upon the detailed areas. Since Netsuke was best done with hard mediums of materials, different types of ceramic were used, ivory from several different animal and mammal species were used, and hard ocean corrals, along with metals of different variations were also used to make Netsuke. All of these are the same materials often used today for making highly detailed traditional Netsuke for collections.

There are truly only five main original formations of Netsuke, and are all one inch tall in approximately, and one inch deep to one inch wide. These five main Netsuke original types are known as sashi, ryusa, katabori, kagamibuta, and manju. The kagamibuta, the ryusa and the manju would be of the slightly variational flattened rounded designs. The katabori are of a three dimensional carving, and there is exquisite characteristic details around around the katabori Netsuke. The sashi Netsuke is recognizable for its length being more emphasized in shape and form.
About the Author
Anita Satin Choudhary writes for Ivory and Art Gallery. Browse the gallery for unique collection of artifacts ranging from Netsuke to Silver Judaica and Mammoth Ivory.
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