written by Noriko Tsuchiya
British Museum Press | ISBN 9780714124810
Paperback – 224 pages
Member’s price: $27.00
Netsuke have once again come to the fore in the popular imagination of the public. Intricately carved from various materials including ivory, wood and metal, these small toggles served a practical purpose in Japan: a netsuke was used to fasten a man’s sash, an integral part of Japanese costume. Up until the seventeenth century netsuke were relatively insignificant objects that were rarely of artistic interest, but as time passed they evolved in terms of both materials and workmanship, and were then used by men to flaunt their wealth or as an expression of status. This book brings together one hundred of the most beautiful and interesting netsuke from the extensive collection of the British Museum, each of which has its own special charm and story to tell. Uncovering the stories behind these netsuke and coupling them with stunning new photography, this book reveals why these tiny objects have captivated so many, the meaning they have held for those who wore them, and what they can tell us about Japanese everyday life.