Japanese Vintage Wood Netsuke Man with a Staff was purchased from a seller in Japan several years ago . I think it looks more like a reptile figure as a person with long hair and a staff or pipe. It is made of very nice wood, very detailed hand carving, and has a good but unknown signature on the bottom. The age dates to between 1920 and 1950. It is in excellent condition. Their is a mother of pearl chip with a good signature on the bottom which should be easy to translate with some work.
SIZE: Height to head 1 3/4" or 4.44 cm, Width across 1 1/4" or 3.17 cm (Not including height with staff or pipe)
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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