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Netsuke

The original function of a netsuke, a small Japanese carving usually made from wood or ivory, was to serve as a toggle to secure an inro and other accoutrements to the obi or belt of traditional Japanese costume.

But, like so much in Japanese art, the delicate detailed carving on these pieces, often carried out by master craftsmen, transformed them from the functional into small scale sculptures collected as works of art in their own right.

Subjects range from animals and mythological characters to comical subjects from everyday life.


Fine Meiji from Cheshire estate

09 March 2005

A local estate was the source of some fine Meiji ivories sold by Cheshire auctioneers Frank Marshall (15% buyer’s premium) of Knutsford on January 11.

High degree of quality is right format at Cambridge

11 May 2004

VOLUME sales have their value but the conscious decision of Cambridge auctioneers Cheffins (15% buyer's premium) to go for quality rather than quantity – relegating lower-end consignments to fortnightly general outings and keeping the best for five well-promoted annual sales – has proved a winning format.

Few falls, no submissions for netsuke collection

09 July 2003

It’s not often a sale devoted entirely to a single owner collection of Netsukes turns up in the provinces but this was exactly what happened on June 18 at Halls (15% buyer’s premium) Shrewsbury salerooms.

Japanese collection comes to light in time for Asian Art Week

08 May 2003

HALLS of Shrewsbury will be taking a very active part in next month’s Asian Art Week, having turned up a 157-piece collection of netsuke in the Midlands.

Hunting a £4000 buffalo

27 August 2002

The compact animal carvings of the Tomotada school are rightly thought of as the zenith of shashin netsuke, and this ivory buffalo and calf, right, by the Kyoto master (or one of his pupils) attracted strong bidding from US and London trade at Bonhams’dispersal of Branton Court.

London-Brighton battles boost netsuke bids

21 June 2001

UK: AN 80-lot collection of Japanese netsuke, inro and okimono from the deceased estate of a Lewes-based collector lifted the proceedings in Raymond P. Inman’s Sussex sale.

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