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Title

Netsuke in the form of 'Ashinaga' ('the long legs') carrying 'tenaga' ('the long arms') who is holding an octopus

19th century


Artists

Unknown Artist


About

A netsuke is a small object attached by a cord to 'sagemono' (dangling objects) such as 'inrô' (men's medicine container) or tobacco pouch. The 'sagemono' was hung from the waist by its cord slipped under the 'obi' (sash worn around the waist), with the netsuke holding it in place. Due to this function, a netsuke has a bored hole, which distinguishes it from other non-functional carved objects.

Netsuke are made of different material such as wood, ivory, staghorn, metal and ceramics. Many netsuke have decorative as well as functional purposes, reflecting the owner's taste, beliefs or general fashion. Some netsuke carvers are well known for their outstanding skills, but there are also a large number of unsigned works that are as good as those by famous masters.

The subject of the netsuke varies from animals, plants, mythical creatures, gods and 'sennin' (mountain recluse) to foreigners or even erotica. Naturalistic representation of the subject is considered important, of course, but because of the intimate nature of netsuke, its tactile impression also plays a significant role in determining its value.

Asian Art Dept., AGNSW, 13 February 2002.


Details


Place where the work was made

Japan


Date

19th century


Media category

Sculpture


Materials used

wood


Dimensions

11.9 x 3.0 x 4.2 cm


Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.


Credit

Gift of G F Williams 1995


Location

Not on display


Accession number

38.2002



Place

Where the work was made
Japan

Referenced in 1 publication

Bibliography


Jackie Menzies (Editor), The Asian Collections Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'The World of Samurai Culture', Sydney, 2003, 223 (colour illus.).