Wooden Netsuke of a Performer Dancing Sanbaso, 19th century


Title: Wooden Netsuke of a Performer Dancing Sanbaso (三番叟)
Date: 19th century
Size: 4.8 x 2.3 x 2.2 cm

Original Japanese antique. 

Sanbaso is the celebratory dance that traditionally opens a kabuki season or marks the opening of a new theatre. Taken from the ritual dance Okina of the noh theatre, it is a prayer for prosperity and abundance adapted to the kabuki stage.

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
Dimensions4.8 x 2.3 x 2.2 cm
Condition ReportWell-worn, some dust remains, aged wood patina.
SubjectKabuki Theatre
Product Date19th century