25 June 2006

history lesson

Probably first used in the latter half of the sixteenth century, Netsuke are miniature Japanese sculptures
dating from the Meiji period.
Without pockets in kimonos, the Japanese would carry money, medication or other small items in sagemono pouches threaded through their obi, or kimono sash.
Netsuke were used as a toggle at the end of the obi and
would hang down below the waist.
They were originally made from natural materials such as wood, gourd or stone.
Later, ivory and bone was used.
Many of them are hateful looking pieces of kitsch
reminiscent of pottery whimsies.
Others are grotesquely erotic or faintly sickening, sentimental disney-like creatures with big eyes but enough of them are beautifully crafted for them to have caught my eye.

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