Wednesday, April 02, 2008

tiny japanese

After our effervescent trip to BCAM, we ended our LACMA visit with the Japanese Pavilion, my favorite part of which was the Netsuke Gallery. Netsuke are tiny sculptures -- I mean tiny -- created to function as toggles for the boxes or pouches that men fastened to the belt (obi) of their kimonos, which had no pockets, to carry valuables and such. From the LACMA website:

The Raymond and Frances Bushell Netsuke Gallery on the plaza level gives the museum visitor the unique opportunity to view from all sides the miniature sculptures known as netsuke. Netsuke were used as both toggle and counterweight to help suspend hanging purses or boxes from the sash of a man's kimono. The Bushell collection contains an encyclopedic array of 836 works from the seventeenth to the twentieth century. Installations of netsuke are composed of 150 works grouped by theme and are rotated every three months.

I found a wonderful piece on netsuke here. It's brief, and very informative. In case you find yourself itching to know more (as I have), here's an interesting book on Amazon.

This netsuke is my favorite. She's Queen Mother of the West. (We are talking miniatures, so click to see more detail.)

Here are a couple others I liked. The first is an angel, lit upon a rice bowl. I tried to photograph more netsuke, but my trusty little Canon has its limits.

Netsuke feature unbelievable detail, and an incredible level of craftsmanship.


Christie said...

I love the Japanese Pavilion too. So many beautiful things. And I didn't get the to museum this past weekend...sigh...

woolanthropy said...

I love netsuke, especially animals. I want to go to the museum. Your photos have been fabulous.

mj said...

It's my favorite thing, too. Your photos are great!