Netsuke

small carved figure of a long haired dog

This is a netsuke of a Pekinese-type dog.

A netsuke is a small, carved toggle. They were commonly used in Japan from the 17th to 19th centuries at a time when traditional clothing had no pockets. Everyday items, such as money, tobacco and medicine, were carried around in pouches attached to a belt by a netsuke.

This netsuke is carved out of wood but they were made from many different materials – ivory, metal, lacquer, shell, horn, coral and porcelain to name but a few. The subjects depicted in netsuke varied widely from flora and fauna to characters from legends and everyday activities. This little dog is a katabori netsuke or figural netsuke, one of the most common types.

This netsuke dog is part of World Museum's ethnology collections. It isn't currently on display but you can see other examples of netsuke in the World Cultures gallery at World Museum and in our online collections.

Accession number 43.22.i41