Sunday, March 22, 2015

My New Netsuke

For those of you who do not know it "Netsuke" are oriental statues, or carvings that originated back in the late 16th, and early 17th century in feudal Japan. Most netsuke were usually used as clothing accessories to show heritage, lineage, and standings within the feudal Japanese communities. Nowadays these keepsakes that are carved from bone, ivory, and other base materials are highly sought after, and are considered one of the finer traditional Japanese collectibles. They come in a variety of different forms including erotic nudes, animals of varying sorts, and Japanese deities/spirits. As far as me and the netsuke go I've collected a few here, and there, and have picked up most of my netsuke at antique malls, or flea markets. I do love buying them when I can find them for a reasonable price.

When it comes to value not all netsuke are genuine, or created equally though. The more authentic, and aged pieces are usually carved from some sort of bone while the modern pieces are sometimes resin in build. It's usually easy to tell the difference between the two as bone carries distinct markings, and modern resin copies are usually too perfect for their own good with non-porous non-skeletal structures. Modern netsuke also usually have a line around them from the mold they were cast in. Another sure fire way to tell a fake from a genuine netsuke is to look at the symmetry of the figure. Details like the persons', or deity's ears, or facial features can tip you off to a fake. It is hard to carve out a perfect netsuke, and without visible asymmetry present you can usually guess that the figure is a reproduction, or fake. actual distinct carving marks will also tip you off as to whether, or not the netsuke in your possession is fake.

Now that I've given you a lesson on "Netsuke Collecting 101" I'd like to share with you my recent find. I looked it over from top to bottom, and it seems to be the real deal. Keep in mind that I'm not 100% sure about that fact though as some details have me puzzled. Regardless I hope you enjoy the look at my tiny treasure, and that it inspires you to seek more information on netsuke. Perhaps you too may find them worth collecting!


  1. i have a confession to make. i didn't know what a netsuke was until i read this one. you are probably more informed of japanese traditional culture than the japanese. for what it is worth,the netsuke looks like yebis,one of the seven deities who presents wealth

  2. I did my research back when I first started collecting them. The carved figures really interested me as a collector. I've always been a fan of Japan's traditional culture, and it's art. I love the old scrolls, the samurai lifestyle, the statues, and ancient structures of Japan. Netsuke are a very real part of Japan's past, and make for a really cool collectible. As far as "Yebis" go you are more than likely correct. Netsuke are carved to represent Japanese deities, things from nature, and sometimes even more erotic figures. I think some Japanese artisans still make them to this day.


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