Pitt Rivers Museum Anthropology and World Archaology







Collector not known

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 in to 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.

This netsuke is in the form of a mask. It is made from lacquered wood, which has been coloured white, blue, black, and red. The mask is called hannya and features in Japanese theatre. The mask is worn by the actor playing the character of a woman whose jealousy and anger have turned her into a demon.

View database record 1980.34.746