Netsuke in form of Tanuki, Japanese raccoon dog

Made:
1701-1900 in Japan
maker:
Unknown

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Ivory netsuke in the form of Tanuki, Japanese raccoon dog, carrying his large scrotum. A mischevious figure in Japanese mythology commonly associated with excessive drinking and gluttony, made in Japan, 1701-1900

Tanuki is a mischievous figure in Japanese mythology. He is a Japanese raccoon dog, commonly associated with excessive drinking and gluttony, but also a bringer of good luck. This ivory netsuke is in the form of Tanuki, carrying his grossly enlarged scrotum.

Netsuke are toggle-like ornaments. They hang objects such as medicine boxes or tobacco pouches from the sash of a kimono – a traditional form of Japanese dress. Netsuke carving is a form of miniature sculpture which developed in Japan over several hundred years. They were often beautifully decorated with elaborate carving, lacquer work, or inlays and were usually made from wood, ivory or porcelain. Nothing is known about the netsuke owner. Perhaps he carried it as a warning about an excessive lifestyle.

Details

Category:
Oriental Medicine
Object Number:
A51582
Materials:
complete, ivory
type:
netsuke costume (personal accessories), ethnography (japanese), tanuki, costume (personal accessories), ethnography (japanese), netsuke
taxonomy:
  • visual and verbal communication
  • sculpture
credit:
Glendining
status:
Loan: Wellcome Trust

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