Netsuke are small items adorned with intricate carvings that the Japanese men used to wear on their Kimonos in order to attach a cord connected to a box or pouch in which they carried their personal items. Most men owned more than one Netsuke which other than their functional purpose also became somewhat of an embellishment often revealing their social status or financial ability.

Types of netsuke and Netsuke Carvings


There are different types of netsuke, the most common of which was the katabori or figural netsuke. Other types of netsuke are:

Manju netsuke; named after a bean paste confection that was round and flat these were adorned with Netsuke Carvings  of compact three-dimensional figures.

Kagamibuta that consisted of a metal lid and a bowl.


Mask netsuke, on which the Netsuke Carvings were tiny versions of the masks used in Noh and Kyogen plays. There are also sashi or long, thin netsuke, that were thrust through the belt, with the sagemono suspended from the end that protrudes from the obi
Anabori Netsuke which had a hollowed out centre.

Ryusa netsuke – shaped like a manju, but carved like lace

Sashi Netsuke; an elongated form Netsuke.

Obi-hasami – another elongated netsuke with a curved top and bottom.

Trick Netsuke that has moving parts or hidden surprises.

Netsuke Carvings include plants and animals, legends and heroes, myths and mythical beasts, gods and other religious symbols, daily activities, and more.

Netsuke value

Netsuke value varies greatly from one item to another beginning at a few hundred and reaching hundreds of thousands of dollars. As any other work of art netsuke value is based on a number of factors. What mostly defines netsuke value is the quality of carving, originality, rarity, and its aesthetic appeal.


Netsuke signatures

Very few bear netsuke signatures. Often the netsuke considered to be the best items are the ones that bear no signature. Netsuke signatures have been the cause of much controversy among collectors with many of them actually preferring unsigned works so as to avoid the ambiguity of if the work is indeed by a famous artist, a pupil or follower of that artist, or just a copy.


At you can find 100% authentic Netsuke made from a variety of materials and and by various artists. Purchase antique or contemporary netsuke and find the netsuke prices for you.