Pitt Rivers Museum Anthropology and World Archaology







Thought to have been collected by James Bellhouse Gaskell

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 earliest 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.

Carvings on netsuke cover a wide range of subjects, both real and imaginary, but their content is often humorous with a strong element of caricature. This is an ivory tengu (a long-nosed demon) figure, with his nose caught in a clamshell. Representations of theatre masks are also a common theme.

View database record 1980.34.1848 .1