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Rabbit with amber eyes netsuke, by Masatoshi, Osaka, approx. 1880, signed, made of ivory, amber, buffalo horn ( Ephrussi collection )
Inrō, attached with netsuke

Netsuke ( Japanese 根 付 , German "root [wood] attachment") are small carved figures from Japan . They served as a counterweight when attaching a Sagemono ('hanging container') such as B. an Inrō , a flat, small, multi-part lacquer wood box on the obi of the pocketless kimono .

The preferred material was originally root wood , ivory , but also whale and walrus teeth , wood, especially boxwood , bamboo , deer horn and others.

They emerged at the end of the 17th century with the rise of the bourgeoisie and lasted until the 1880s, when the kimono fell out of use as an everyday item of clothing.

Mythological figures were depicted, in particular the seven gods of luck , animals, flowers, fruits as well as objects and scenes from everyday life. One of the famous Netsuke carvers (Netsukeshi) was Masanao from the Kyoto school.

to form

A distinction is made between several forms, for example

  • katabori ( 形 彫 ) - compact, rounded sculptures (widespread)
  • anabori ( 穴 彫 ) - hollow, shell-like sculptures
  • men ( ) - head or mask netsuke, often reductions of Nō masks (widespread)
  • sashi ( ) - long, rod-shaped or needle-shaped netsuke
  • manjū ( 饅頭 ) - round, button-like netsuke with reliefs
  • ryūsa ( 柳 左 ) - similar to manjū , but carved openwork
  • kagamibuta ( 鏡 蓋 ) - like a small bowl with a lid made of decorated metal
  • karakuri ( か ら く り ) - all netsuke with moving parts or hidden content

See also

NETSUKE, the Raijin represents

Individual evidence

  1. a b Trude Klefisch: Netsuke . In: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Natur- und Völkerkunde Ostasiens (Hrsg.): OAG Notes . No. 02/2010 . Tokyo 2010, p. 25 ( PDF ).
  2. Klefisch, p. 32
  3. Klefisch, p. 26
  4. Klefisch, p. 29
  5. Klefisch, p. 31


  • Richard Wolf: The world of netsuke. Introduction for collectors and enthusiasts , FA Brockhaus, Wiesbaden 1970
  • Wolfmar Zacken: Netsuke. An exhibition with over two hundred netsukes, as well as inrōs , ojimes , kinchakus and tonkotsus . Edition Zacke, Vienna
  • Edmund de Waal : The hare with the amber eyes. The hidden legacy of the Ephrussi family , Paul Zsolnay Verlag, Vienna 2011. (The book tells the story of the Jewish banking family Ephrussi based on 264 netsuke.)
  • Wolfmar Zacken: Netsuke, Okimono and Inro. An exhibition with over 113 netsukes in pictures and text . Edition Zacke, Vienna 2005.

Web links

Commons : Netsuke  - collection of images, videos and audio files