Pitt Rivers Museum Anthropology and World Archaology







Thought to have been collected by Charles Lund

Given to the Museum by Hermann Gunther and Albert Everard Gunther. Loaned in 1944. Donated in 1980

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Netsuke, Japan

When wearing traditional dress, Japanese men and women carried their small personal possessions by attaching them to a cord which was tucked into a belt or sash (obi) and held in place by a carved toggle, or netsuke. The first netsuke were natural materials, such as shells, pieces of wood or bamboo, and stones. Later netsuke were art objects, beautifully carved in a range of materials. The earliest known netsuke are from the eighteenth century but they were probably used earlier than this.

Netsuke are sometimes not just toggles and carvings, but have a further function – as a sundial or ashtray. The small ivory netsuke at the right of this picture is also an ashtray.

View database record 1980.34.1812