antique netsuke

Ito-in netsuke18th century6.3 x 3.7 cmA stag antler "silk seal" netsuke Ito-in are among the oldest netsuke. Originally used as seals for the silks commerced in the port of Hakata near Nagasaki, they all have similar features: the subject is almost invariably a head of a stranger - European or Asian - deformed to adapt to the stag shape. These figures, called "konronjin" bear a fierce expression, maybe becuse they were used also to incute fear to the superstitious local workers who might be tempted to steal the silks. The missing seal was stored in the cavity...

ShokiKyoto school18th 19th centuryStag antler netsukeHeight 7,8 cm Shoki is represented standing with his sword on his right hand. Shōki’s popularity peaked in Japan during the Edo period, when people began to hang images of Shōki outside their houses to ward off evil spirits during the Boys' Day festival and to adorn the eaves and entrances of their homes with ceramic statues of the deity. Today, Shōki is a minor deity relatively neglected or forgotten by most Japanese, except perhaps in Kyoto city, where residents still adorn the eaves and rooftops of their homes with...

Netsuke ashinaga-tenaga
Ashinaga and TenagaEarly 19th centuryIvory netuske,Ashinaga ("long legs") and Tenaga ("long arms") are two Chinese mythical figures who use their abnormally long limbs to fish: with his long legs, Ashinaga can easily emerge from the waters of the rivers and watching everything from above, while Tenaga sinks his long arms into the water, searching fishes or shellfish of which both are greedy. This couple brought their example of the benefits of a peaceful cooperation, transforming what might appear at first as a physical disfigurements, in a mutually beneficial feature...

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