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Lovely Japanese Dark Wood Vintage Netsuke of a Tiger Signed
This lovely vintage signed wood netsuke of a tiger most likely dates to between the 1900 and 1960s. It is made of very nice dark wood and stained. Brent says it is on the older side. The tiger has a startled look on his face. There are nice himotoshi or the holes for the cord. I believe the eyes are made of stone. (They are not plastic, they could be mother of pearl). There is a signed insert on the back, but we do not know what it says. Please note the size in the last picture by Brent. It is in very good vintage condition, with no cracks or chips. It does have some surface age wear with some scratches on the top of its head. I think it is older than I first thought initially, now that I have learned more.
Netsuke are miniature sculptures that were invented in 17th-century Japan to serve a practical function the two Japanese characters’ netsuke mean root and to attach. Traditional Japanese garments—robes called kosode and kimono—had no pockets; however, men who wore them needed a place to store their personal belongings, such as pipes, tobacco, money, seals, or medicines.
Their solution was to place such objects in containers called sagemono hung by cords from the robes' sashes obi. The containers may have been pouches or small woven baskets, but the most popular were beautifully crafted boxes inrō, which were held shut by ojime, which were sliding beads on cords. Whatever the form of the container, the fastener that secured the cord at the top of the sash was a carved, button-like toggle called a netsuke.
Netsuke, like the inrō and ojime, evolved over time from being strictly utilitarian into objects of great artistic merit and an expression of extraordinary craftsmanship. Such objects have a long history reflecting the important aspects of Japanese folklore and life. Netsuke production was most popular during the Edo period in Japan, around 1615-1868. Today, the art lives on, and some modern works can command high prices in the UK, Europe, the USA, Japan and elsewhere.
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