Japanese Art

Things You Need to Know Before Buying Japanese Art

According to art experts, Netsuke is a specialized Japanese art that represents a specific time and place. They are of great value and a collector’s favorite item to possess! The Netsuke was worn by a traditional Japanese man as part of his ensemble in the 17th century. Since then, its simple design has been redefined by artists a number of times to see what it could be.

Ideally, netsuke is small in size with a few holes to allow a single cord to pass. Most importantly, they shouldn’t have any protruding that could ruin someone’s kimono. Once these basic requirements are met, everything else after that is left to carver’s imagination. Its style, material, and subject differs wildly as per the maker’s personality. This is what makes them such a coveted collectible.

So if you are looking for Netsuke for Sale, then read on because knowing these things will increase your knowledge about this ancient Japanese art.

Netsuke evolved as functional items

In the 17th century, Japanese men did not have sewn-up sleeves like women and had to dress in a completely open garment that was fastened by wide sashes. These sashes were ornamented with small artistic objects that later came to be known as netsuke.

This is an exclusively Japanese art form

It is believed that with growing exports from China in the late 17th and 18th century may have resulted in netsuke being spawned too. However, this distinctly Japanese art form was developed solely as a cultural competition between carvers to create their netsuke in unique and artistic forms. This localized art form is strictly Japanese and in no way from China.

Design evolution

Early netsuke were not as elaborate as the ones that were seen in the 18th century. Paintings from 17th century depicting Japanese men wearing netsuke shows little to no carvings on the netsuke as were seen in the late 18th century. The carved netsuke that is every collector’s dream today was developed in the later part of 18th century. Netsuke’s evolution with regards to designs happened simultaneously. Before long, the carvers were making more complex designs such as mythical figures, kabuki actors, zodiac animals etc. to sustain the growing competition. Their designs paralleled the broader trends experienced by Japanese art at the time.

With the dawn of 19th century, netsuke took on shape of daily-life objects. This was the aesthetic that was adopted throughout Japanese art.

Much like everything else such as watches, bags, and jewelry, netsuke was designed to complement the outfit on different occasions. Wealthy Japanese men who could afford these had them made in various style to expand their wardrobe. But as Japanese fashion became more influenced by the west, netsuke lost its application in daily use. Since then, this item is being collected by westerners as an important piece of art from a bygone era. They were so impressed by its design that the carvers continued to make them for collection purposes.