Netsuke: 100 miniature masterpieces from Japan - the exhibition catalogue from British Museum available to buy at Museum Bookstore

Netsuke: 100 miniature masterpieces from Japan

Sale price £12.95 Regular price £14.99

'A tremendous book..with wit and scholarship and vivid photography. It is the best alternative possible to having them in your hands' - Edmund de Waal

Netsuke: 100 miniature masterpieces from Japan

Netsuke are intricately carved toggles created from various materials including ivory, wood and metal, originally used to fasten a man's sash, an integral part of Japanese costume.

Up until the seventeenth century netsuke were relatively insignificant objects that were rarely of artistic interest, but as time passed they evolved in terms of both materials and workmanship, and were then used by men to flaunt their wealth or as an expression of status. Today netsuke are considered an art form in their own right and are prized by collectors around the world. They are found in a variety of forms and depict a wide range of subjects including figures of human and legendary form, ghosts, animals, botanical subjects and masks.

Skilfully worked, these miniature carvings are of great artistic value, but they also provide a window into Japanese culture and society. This book brings together one hundred of the most beautiful and interesting netsuke from the extensive collection of the British Museum, each of which has its own special charm and story to tell. Uncovering the stories behind these netsuke and coupling them with stunning new photography, this book reveals why these tiny objects have captivated so many, the meaning they have held for those who wore them, and what they can tell us about Japanese everyday life.

  • Author: Noriko Tsuchiya, Curator, British Museum
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Date published: June 2014
  • Language: English
  • ISBN: 978-0714124810
  • Product Dimensions: 19 x 19 cm

'[A] tremendous book ... with wit and scholarship and vivid photography. It is the best alternative possible to having them in your hands' -Edmund de Waal, author of The Hare With Amber Eyes

'The British Museum, which holds more than 2,300 netsuke in its collection, has just published a guide to 100 of the finest of these miniature masterpieces by Noriko Tsuchiya, a curator who specializes in Japanese decorative arts'
Wall Street Journal

'A miniature treat'Apollo magazine