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Netsuke is actually two words..."ne" and "tsuke", which when translated to English means "root for fastening". In fact, originally it may have been a root that the first Netsuke was made from. Necessity is the mother of invention...and the Netsuke is no exception. Every one needs a way to carry personal items with them. Whether money, keys, chops, or tobacco; we need them with us. The Kimono, having no pockets, presented the problem. Items had to be carried in pouches or small purses. At first they were simply tied to the Obi. (sash) This freed one's hands, but in order to open the pouch it had to be untied from the Obi, then retied again. At some point someone discovered that if you tied a piece of a stick or root to the end of the string holding the pouch, it could be slipped under the obi and held in place. To remove the pouch you simply slide the stick or root back under the obi. As with most other personal items, these sticks and roots began to evolve into more and more decorative items. Eventually it developed into an art form which has outlasted the function for which it was intended. Today the Kimono has been replaced with western clothes and items are carried in pocket, but the art of Netsuke carving lives on. 

Below is a sample inro. This inro has three section that open to reveal compartments inside. A silk cord passes through the inro, then the ojime bead, and finally ends at the netsuke. The ojime bead is slid down against the top of the inro to keep it closed.

Dedicated to the Art of Netsuke carving. Ivory, and Wood Netsuke as well as Bone Inro. Hundreds of Netsuke in stock every day. Click Here to visit our online store.

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