In a Nutshell: Japanese netsuke from European collections
5 April - 12 June 2013, London
The Embassy of Japan is hosting a stunning collection of over two hundred netsuke gathered from a number of private collections in Europe and the World Museum, Liverpool until 31 May. Most of the pieces have never been on public display before, including a certain small ivory hare.
Netsuke are the result of Japanese Edo-period (1603-1868 CE) clothing having no pockets. During this time, a simple wrap-around robe (kimono), held in place by a sash (obi) was worn by Japanese men and women. While women might have carried objects in their wide sleeves, men carried small items such as inr? (medicine or seal containers), tobacco, writing sets and purses suspended on cords from their obi. These often decorative hanging accessories, for which fashion mattered as much as function, were kept in place by a small intricately carved toggle called a netsuke.
A fascination with all things Japanese developed in 19th-century Europe and netsuke proved to be ideal collectors’ items providing a small glimpse of far-off Japan. Today, they bring as much pleasure and enchantment as they did when they were first made in Edo-period Japan.
Admission is free, but photo ID is necessary to gain entry to the Embassy