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n. pl. netsuke or net·su·kes
A small toggle, often in the form of a carved ivory or wood figure, used to secure a purse or container suspended on a cord from the sash of a kimono.



(Antiques) (in Japan) a carved toggle, esp of wood or ivory, originally used to tether a medicine box, purse, etc, worn dangling from the waist
[C19: from Japanese]


(ˈnɛt ski, -skeɪ; Japn. ˈnɛ tsʊˈkɛ)

n., pl. -ke, -kes.
(in Japanese art) a small carved figure, orig. used as a buttonlike fixture on a man's sash.
[1880–85; < Japanese, =ne root + tsuke attach]


Small Japanese figures (predominantly animals) usually carved from ivory and used to decorate belts, purses, tobacco pouches, etc. Highly collectable, these miniature works of sixteenth-century art are said to acquire an “aura” the more they are handled.
References in periodicals archive ?
Moss netsuke and lacquer; and Simon Theobald brings German Expressionist portrait prints--a subject close to Rosenthal's heart.
They are called netsuke (look it up) - and they unlock a brilliant story, starting in Japan, without a rugby ball in sight.
While his early recognition in the US was the result of his rather hostile reconsideration of Bernard Leach's influence in a small volume written for the Tate St Ives (1998) and his compact but inclusive 20th Century Ceramics (2003), he became a celebrity with the publication of his family memoir The Hare with Amber Eyes (2010), which conveyed the attraction of objects through the story of his ancestors' collections and the loss of it all, except 264 diminutive netsuke, in the Anschluss and Holocaust.
Into her bag went a beautifully illustrated book all about collecting antique netsuke (I know because I looked at it, blanched at the price, and returned it to its shelf), and to my knowledge at least three examples.
Pushing the potential of design, craft, and display as self-expression to hyperbolic ends, the show's intertwined narratives evolved around a personal reckoning with Edmund de Waal's The Hare with Amber Eyes: A Family's Century of Art and Loss (2010)--an autobiographical account of the British ceramicist's collection of seventeenth-century Japanese netsuke (miniature sculptures), the only objects remaining from the Jewish-Viennese Ephrussi dynasty's fortune after World War II--against which Clark constructs his own genealogy of design and architectural history.
Shops in Kyoto offer doll kimonos and accessories including netsuke (hand-carved button or toggle used with an obi sash on a kimono or jacket) and kanzashi (hair ornaments).
Edmund, who studied in Japan, inherited a collection of 264 netsuke from his uncle Iggie, Elisabeth's younger brother; the tiny Japanese sculptures were all that survived of what had once been a great family fortune.
It's hard to easily 'peg' The Hare With Amber Eyes: A Hidden Inheritance at once a family memoir, account of collecting and art, and a story of Judaic history, it's packed with lovely account of the author's journey begun by his encounter with his great-uncle's collection of Japanese netsuke carvings.
We follow the netsuke collection from its first owner in the 1870s, Charles Ephrussi, a Parisian connoisseur (and model for Proust's aesthete Swann), to his nephew Viktor in Vienna, in 1899, and then to the family maid, Anna, who kept the objects hidden under a straw mattress to protect them from the Nazis.
Netsuke is a nasty little book, the literary equivalent of a snuff film.
They include ancient Egyptian amulets, an abolitionist society's "Slave in Chains" medallion, items by Faberge, Japanese netsuke, and custom jewelry by famous contemporary designers.