During my recent visit, the Japanese Garden had an exhibition of netsuke, carved figures used in the Edo period to secure purses to pocketless kimonos. At a time when the merchant classes were prohibited from any display of opulence, the functional intention of these objects provided a loophole for small bits of showy fashion. (Since the netsuke bound the purse string to the kimono belt sort of like a bolo tie, the term loophole might be, oh, never mind.) Here’s a sampling from the exhibit.
4 thoughts on “Japanese Garden Bonus: Netsuke Carvings”
oy there needs to be pockets in those kimonos is what I am taking away here. what is avg size of these beauties?
Hi Alan – Beautiful photos! There is an exhibit at the NY Jewish Museum called the Hair with the Amber Eyes. There is a book by the same name. My niece was assistant curator on this project. Ben and I went to see it a couple of weeks ago. It has a large collection of 264 netsuke passed down by several generations of the Ephrussi family. Intersection of art, war, money, culture, religion! Kismet to see netsuke in your photos and experience. Sending love –
Cool! Netsuke is currently trending on our rather unique intersecting worlds. Thanks for visiting and commenting!
These were about a cubic inch, smaller than the usual bolo tie clasp. You got it on the motivation behind it. “Oy” is the mother of all invention!