Saturday, April 05, 2008

See netsuke online!

"What on earth's a netsuke?" you ask?


The word netsuke is usually translated as "toggle," but it's actually more like a keychain in that it was fastened at the end of a cord attached to a traditional Japanese carrying case (sagemono).


Back in the days of kimonos, you see, no one had pockets, so the only way to carry around personal belongings was in a kimono sleeve or in a sagemono hung from the kimono belt (obi). The netsuke served as a counterbalance and as a stopper that prevented the cord from slipping through the obi.


The Los Angeles County Museum of Art has an online gallery of its impressive collection of netsuke from the Meiji period (1868–1912).


This is a really cool collection to peruse with a cup of green tea. So take a break, relax and nourish your body and mind. The lawn can wait another week.


By the way, does it surprise you that there is an organization devoted to netsuke? Nope, it doesn't surprise me, either.



A horse-shaped netsuke.



This predates "Pirates of the Caribbean."


—Mellow Monk


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