Wooden Netsuke, Puppy, Original Japanese Antique


Original Japanese antique.

Title: A wooden netsuke of a puppy, eyes inlaid in dark horn
Carver: Unsigned
Date: 19th century
Dimensions: (L) 4.5 x (H) 2.8 x (D) 1.9 cm
Condition: Well-worn with external areas showing aged wood patina. Small crack on the forehead and on the back. Some dust and residue.

Animals have always been a popular source of inspiration for netsuke carvers. Netsuke of the twelve animals of the East Asian zodiac cycle were linked to the zodiac animals of the current year, or the birth year of its owner.


Dogs are one of the most popular animals in Japan, as in many other countries. This netsuke of a puppy shows a playful expression, its rounded edges making it particularly easy to hold and comfortable to wear.


Netsuke were practical fashion accessories worn by Japanese men of the Edo period (1615-1868). Kimono has no pockets, and only women's garments had places in the sleeve to keep small objects. In contrast, men would carry their personal accessories by hanging them from the sash wrapped around their waist. Netsuke would therefore act as a 'toggle' that kept the sash hanging by preventing it from slipping.


Like many other art forms, netsuke reflect the nature of the society that produced them, displaying every aspect of Japanese culture, including its rich folklore and religion, crafts, trades, and professions, all types of people and creatures, both real and imagined, and every kind of object.

More Information
Size(L) 4.5 x (H) 2.8 x (D) 1.9 cm
SubjectAnimals & Birds
Product Date19th century