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Ne “root” and tsuke “to hang,” this turns out to be the translated ideogram, initially the Netsuke was really a root, a cut piece of wood hanging from the obi, the sash that tightens the kimono.
In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the Netsuke became the quintessential collector’s item, all different in subject matter shape and material, intriguing and striking in their patina and small miniaturized details, but most of all in their tactile charge.
Not to be confused with the bad Chinese reproductions made of bone or other materials, which can be confusing for those new to these objects.
Stroking, touching, and looking closely at these small Japanese sculptures are necessary things to be able to tell the difference in quality and appreciate the material, ivory, boxwood, and horn being the most common.