(pronounced “net-ski” or “net-skeh”)
are tiny sculptures that originated in Japan
as an accessory to traditional Japanese
clothing. They have since evolved over a time
period of three hundred years into works of
art that are both collected and revered by art
aficionados across the globe.
Netsuke served both functional and aesthetic
purposes. The Japanese kimono did not have
pockets, so women would hold small objects in
their sleeves, and men would wear a silk cord
on their obi, or sash. From the cord, they
would hang items such as tobacco pouches and
coin purses. These items were known as
sagemono. To stop the silk cord from slipping
under the weight of their sagemono, they would
attach a small toggle to the cord. These
toggles were known as netsuke, which literally
means, “root for fastening”. Click
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have forever been a part of history, covering
virtually every culture.
Although most beads are used to
embellish and adorn, they also serve a number
of other functions, which covers political
events, social circumstances, religious
beliefs, symbolism of curative powers, and
have even been used as currency.
Beads are also made in a huge variety
of colors and designs, and can be made from
all types of materials to include wood, metal,
glass, ivory, and plastic.
of the ojime beads made from ivory were first
carved in China’s Heibei province.
However, during the mid-1980s, ivory
was banned at which time ojime beads were made
These beads are not carved by just
anyone, but actual master carvers who consider
this a very valuable art form.
Many master carvers can create up to
five to ten designs and while some will vary
in color, the density and fine grain are what
makes them unique.
For a single ojime bead to be crafted
by a skilled master carver, approximately four
to six hours is required.
Once the carving is complete, the beads
are then signed by the artist, hand polished,
and waxed to bring out their lustrous shine
before being sold.
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offer the Internet's largest selection of Asian Arts,
Crafts, and Collectibles with over 4,000 different
items in stock in our Maryland warehouse. Our products
are handcrafted and imported from Japan, China, Korea,
Bali, India, Vietnam, Russia, Ceylon, Nepal, and
Thailand. So sit back, relax, and enjoy your visit.