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The Reason Why Exotic Netsuke Were Sculpted

Feb 1, 2008
Netsuke is a functional, yet beautifully small type of Japanese form of art developed over 300 years ago. Netsuke allowed a wide range of self-expression without repercussions. As long as related to the natural being of the societal practices, exotic Netsuke called "Shunga" Netsuke was accepted within the societal values. Shunga Netsuke originated in China, Japan widely accepted Shunga Netsuke within their otherwise strict cultural society. Japan's expressively exotic sculpture originated in Japan during the Edo period around 1615 to 1868. These art forms are of zodiac animals and other types of animals, but the one animal being depicted with a beautiful woman is the octopus. Netsuke gave vent to the suppressed society that people lived in with a freedom of expression.

Netsuke is a functional, yet beautifully small type of Japanese form of art developed over 300 years ago. Miniature sculptures of many various styles were in the beginning created for holding closed the pouch of personal items desired to be carried by Japanese men. Since there were no pockets on the traditional Japanese kimono, there was necessity for pouches or other small types of carrying devices to be attached or worn by the Japanese men and the Netsuke toggle holding it closed was there to also be expressive and admired.

These toggles could be of most any form or thought imaginable, but traditionally the Netsuke is in the subject categories reflecting the natural societal culture they were created by. There are several factors as to why these miniature sculptures were so expressive and exotic. When Netsuke was first created, Japanese as a whole were limited in what was allowed in self-expression of the society as a whole due to custom and laws. Netsuke allowed a wide range of self-expression without repercussions. With such a long standing time period of closed society to the western world and strict Empire rule, exotic sculptures were a release of free expression of almost any nature.

As long as related to the natural being of the societal practices, exotic Netsuke called "Shunga" Netsuke was accepted within the societal values. As gifts for young couples uniting together in marriage, Shunga Netsuke gifts would be appropriate in the encouragement of a prosperous long fulfilling marriage. Shunga Netsuke originated in China, Japan widely accepted Shunga Netsuke within their otherwise strict cultural society. Shunga Netsuke is believed to have originally been inspired by the illustrations within the Chinese medical manuals during the Muromachi era during 1336 to 1573.

Japan's expressively exotic sculpture originated in Japan during the Edo period around 1615 to 1868. These art forms are of zodiac animals and other types of animals, but the one animal being depicted with a beautiful woman is the octopus. The octopus was highly popular in art and when combined with a woman, the octopus will most always have nine tentacles instead of eight tentacles. The added ninth tentacle is to represent union in a subtle fashion. These types of toggle octopuses would most always be completely embracing the beautiful woman.

Netsuke gave vent to the suppressed society that people lived in with a freedom of expression. Netsukes are still highly valued on their sculpture and depictions until our days.
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.
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