Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Japan, Room 45, The Toshiba Gallery

Netsuke

ca. 1850-1900 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

The netsuke is a toggle. Japanese men used netsuke to suspend various pouches and containers from their sashes by a silk cord. Netsuke had to be small and not too heavy, yet bulky enough to do the job. They needed to be compact with no sharp protruding edges, yet also strong and hard-wearing. Above all, they had to have the means for attaching a cord. Netsuke were made in a variety of forms, the most widely appreciated being the katabori (shape carving), a three-dimensional carving, such as this one in the form of a pumpkin.

From the 18th century onwards, netsuke were increasingly signed with the carver’s name. This example is signed ‘Ikkan’, a netsuke-carver from the regional centre of Nagoya. A line of netsuke carvers in this area stemmed from the artist Tomokazu, and all its members made use of the character meaning ‘one’. This can be read as ‘kazu’ and ‘ichi’, resulting in names such as Ikkan.

Takaoka Ikkan was one of the greatest netsuke carvers of Nagoya. He was also the younger brother of the head priest of Kyosenji Temple, a minor branch temple in Nagoya. When the temple fell on hard times, he was obliged to earn his living as a Buddhist sculptor and netsuke carver. This netsuke of a pumpkin looks deceptively simple. Great skill was needed to portray its form and texture realistically.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Carved wood
Brief Description
Netsuke of a pumpkin, carved wood, signed Ikkan, ca. 1850 - 1900
Physical Description
This carved and stained wood netsuke is in the form of a pumpkin.
Dimensions
  • Height: 4.29cm
Style
Credit line
Salting Bequest
Subject depicted
Summary
The netsuke is a toggle. Japanese men used netsuke to suspend various pouches and containers from their sashes by a silk cord. Netsuke had to be small and not too heavy, yet bulky enough to do the job. They needed to be compact with no sharp protruding edges, yet also strong and hard-wearing. Above all, they had to have the means for attaching a cord. Netsuke were made in a variety of forms, the most widely appreciated being the katabori (shape carving), a three-dimensional carving, such as this one in the form of a pumpkin.



From the 18th century onwards, netsuke were increasingly signed with the carver’s name. This example is signed ‘Ikkan’, a netsuke-carver from the regional centre of Nagoya. A line of netsuke carvers in this area stemmed from the artist Tomokazu, and all its members made use of the character meaning ‘one’. This can be read as ‘kazu’ and ‘ichi’, resulting in names such as Ikkan.



Takaoka Ikkan was one of the greatest netsuke carvers of Nagoya. He was also the younger brother of the head priest of Kyosenji Temple, a minor branch temple in Nagoya. When the temple fell on hard times, he was obliged to earn his living as a Buddhist sculptor and netsuke carver. This netsuke of a pumpkin looks deceptively simple. Great skill was needed to portray its form and texture realistically.
Collection
Accession Number
A.1001-1910

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record createdJanuary 30, 2004
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