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Netsuke - Okada, Barbara T - Yale University Press
Art and Architecture

Netsuke

Masterpieces from The Metropolitan Museum of Art

  • Barbara Teri Okada
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Netsuke, the toggles once used to attach pouches or cases to kimono sashes, are highly valued and collected. Many of these small, utilitarian objects are astonishing examples of the sculptor's skill. Barbra Teri Okada, a leading authority on netsuke, has chosen 100 of the finest of these sculptures from the collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Each piece is illustrated and discussed in detail; techniques are explained, rich religious and historical allusions are explored, and elements of parody, satire, and parable are pointed out. The author identifies the heroes, Buddhist and Taoist saints, and characters from folklore and myth who are frequently represented in netsuke. Animals, real and fantastic, are presented, and the twelve zodiac animals, so significant in Japanese astrology, are carefully described. The less common manju netsuke;—kagamibuta and ryusa—are included, and mask netsuke, which are derived from Japanese drama, are given special attention. The major artists—among them Tomotada, Minko, Toyomasa, Ohara Mitsuhiro, Masatsugu Kaigyokusai, and Joso—and the most important schools are assessed; the author's acute judgments will benefit both the expert and the novice.

(This book was originally published in 1981/82.)

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