Wooden Netsuke, Laughing Ashinaga, Original Japanese Antique

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Title: A wooden netsuke of a laughing Ashinaga (Long Legs)
Carver: Unsigned
Date: 19th century
Dimensions: (L) 3.2 x (H) 11 x (D) 2 cm

Original Japanese antique.

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This netsuke shows a humourous character called Ashinaga (Long Legs). He is usually paired with his companion Tenaga (Long Arms) and they are considered to be yokai (supernatural creatures) of Japanese folklore. They are described as inhabitants of two different countries who eventually join forces to work as a team in order to catch fish by the seashore, one complementing the other's physical ability.

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
Dimensions (L) 3.2 x (H) 11 x (D) 2 cm
Condition Report Well-worn with external areas showing aged wood patina. Some dust and residue.
Subject Ghosts & Religion
Product Date 19th century


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