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Art: A Glossary of Netsuke Terms

The original glossary was taken from the International Netsuke Society.
They are a group devoted to the Study and Collection of Netsuke
and are not associated in any way with this website. For sales, see
Harumi Antiques. For further information, see Netsukes and the Electronic Auction World (forewarned is forearmed).

This glossary has been expanded from the original.
The netsuke above was won at auction on
eBay.com with an opening bid at $1,300.00 US.

A goblin or monster in human form seen on umbrellas, lanterns and pumpkins. They have legs and in this way are distinguished from ghosts, which have none.

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A wooden sword worn by the civilian population, notably doctors, actors and artists, who, unlike samurai, were prohibited from wearing real swords. Since it was usually worn attached to the obi, it is consider to be a sagemono.

The apertures and channel carved in netsuke and inro for the passage of a cord.

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A sectional case or box (usually lacquered) which is worn suspended from the obi by a cord on which the netsuke serves as a toggle.

A special type of netsuke comprising a metal lid and a bowl. Its literal meaning is mirror lid.

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A pipecase.

A general category of techniques in which designs are created by sprinkling gold and other materials on lacquer. Its literal meaning is sprinkled picture.

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A type of netsuke named after a popular bean paste confection in a round, flat shape.

A small sculptural object, or toggle, usually worn to suspend objects hung from the sash of the kimono.

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The sash of a kimono.

A moveable bead through which the cord of the netsuke and sagemono passes.

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Literally a hanging object, such as an inro, purse, pouch, pipecase or other object suspended by a netsuke.

A long, thin netsuke, thrust through the sash, with the sagemono suspended from the end that protrudes below the obi.

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A tobacco box that acts a sagemono.

Fossil wood contained in the lignite bed, formed in the Pliocene epoch in the Tertiary (five million years ago), which extends under the Aobayama and Yagiyama areas of Sendai.
Artisans of Sendai have turned these dark fossil woods into a very unusual material for crafts. They are fashioned into a variety of products like brooches, tiepins and teaware.
Many fans of Umoregi-Zaiku have been attracted by the visible grain of the wood and the soft luster of the lacquer.

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A portable writing set, accommodating both a brush and the necessary writing ink. Another item in the sagemono category, since it was usually carried hanging from the obi.

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