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Japan

Dohachi, Kinrande box

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Object Details

Culture

Japan

Date

19th century

Medium

Porcelain, gold and red enamel glazes

Dimensions

1 3/8 x 1 3/8 x 5/8 inches (3.5 x 3.5 x 1.6 cm)

Credit Line

Gift of Carl A. Kroch, Class of 1935

Object
Number

87.048.036

BRIEF DESCRIPTIONThis is a porcelain netsuke in the form of a small, round box.WHERE WAS IT MADE?Thi(…)

BRIEF DESCRIPTIONThis is a porcelain netsuke in the form of a small, round box.WHERE WAS IT MADE?This netsuke was made in Japan.HOW WAS IT MADE?Netsuke made from porcelain, like this one, were hand-modeled from a white clay containing kaolin, then glazed and fired in a kiln. This particular style of glazed ceramic, which combines a red glaze with intricate gold designs, is called kinrande. It is named for a rich, brocade fabric.HOW WAS IT USED?During the Edo period (1603-1868), the standard attire for a well-dressed Japanese man consisted of a kimono tied with a sash. Because kimonos had no pockets, accessory bags and carrying cases (called sagemono: hanging things) were used to hold personal items such as money, medicines, tobacco and seals (a stamp carved with the owner’s name). Silken cords, attached to the sagemono, were threaded through the kimono sash (obi). A toggle, called a netsuke, was attached to the other end of the cord to prevent it from slipping through the sash. To see a netsuke with an inro—one popular type of sagemono that consisted of small, stacked compartments for holding medicines—search for object number 98.087.006 in the keyword search box.The term netsuke comes from the words “ne”, meaning ‘root’ and “tsuke”, meaning ‘to fasten.’ Early netsuke may have been made from found objects such as pieces of roots, nuts, coral and bone. Over time, netsuke production became more and more varied, refined, and innovative, reaching a high point in the early 19th century. Subjects and decoration of netsuke and sagemono reflected the tastes and aspirations of their owners, often infused with an element of comic irony. As clothing traditions modernized, netsuke came to be collected separately from sagemono, and appreciated as sculptural gems in their own right.

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