Netsuke more than two hundred thousand dollars!


Netsuke (net-skeh) is a miniature sculpture developed in Japan over more than three hundred years. Kimono, a traditional form of Japanese dress had no pockets. Men suspended pouches (inro) on a Silk cord from his belt (Obi). To stop the cord from slipping through the “Obi”, a small switch is attached. What is the little toggle switch on the “netsuke”.

The Dutchman

In the netsuke referred to in the title of this article was sold at auction in the German auctionhouse Lempertz on 27 November 2004. It was estimated at $ 60,000, – (40 000 euros), but was beaten in a sensational us $ 230,000, – (Euro 154.000). It is unusually large (h 5 2/5 “) ivory netsuke of a permanent Dutch holding a dead hare over his shoulder, which is attached to the weapon, from the end of the 18th century, stands out by two features: a few comical facial features, and elegant dress, as well as his profession as a hunter, the lure showing the “southern Barbarian meat-eaters”.

Why us $ 230,000, -?

In exraordinary hammer price at US $ 230,000, – for this specific part can be explained by looking at its history, theme, workmanship, condition and, of course, its rarity. The object made its way through 100 years in the famous collection of netsuke, and it was already published in 1895 Japonist art dealer Marcus B. huish, so. The representation of the Westerner, especially that of the Dutchman in Japanese art (in prints and netsuke) is a very desirable object. Thanks to the bright image of Japanese artists is “strange” people from another world, giving the beholder a very interesting and humorous explanation of the meeting of two very different cultures. Unknown Creator, it is not signed, in this particular netsuke had to be a master artisan because of his great eye For detail and his elegant appearance. The specific subject of the Dutchman is not uncommon, but a quality piece in this condition combined with age, this is a very rare find.

More examples

In recent decades, there are more examples of interesting prices compared to the netsuke. In may 1990 at auction auctionhouse Sotheby's in London netsuke horse huddled in $ 260,000, and using anitques dealer in Oriental treasures and the West in Honolulu netsuke, representing the “Awabi girl and octopus” (as Hokusai'the famous “Dream of the fisherman'wife “Shunga!) Was sold at approx. 250 000 USD.


Netsuke carvers mostly worked in a limited range of subjects and themes, such as scenes from everyday life, animals, erotic encounter (Shunga), signs of the zodiac or subjects with a mythical background. Regardless of its themes or the theme of netsuke is a very attractive and highly collectible art and interesting pieces will only increase in price.


One of the most cited books among netsuke collectors Lazarnick' 'signature book of netsuke' and from the same author 'netsuke & inro artists, and how to read their signatures'. Both were limited edition, first 500 copies, and the other at 876 copies. These books are unmissable for the serious collector of netsuke.

Netsuke Organizations:

The International Netsuke Society

International Netsuke Carvers' Association

Japan Netsuke Society (Nihon Netsuke Kenkyukai)

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