Page Last Updated: Wednesday, 04 November 2015 13:35 EDT, 1975, 2013

Metal Netsuke

by Dean S. Hartley, Jr.

Netsuke Seminar Program, Oct 1 - 4, 1975, East Dennis, MA


Resource: Koji Hoten, V. F. Weber (title means "Book of Ancient Treasures").

Kagami-buta - "mirror lid" - after early metal lids made by casting (by mirror makers). Also Kana-buta - "metal lid."

"A particular variety of netsuke-button made of a little bowl of ivory, wood, metal, etc., upon which is placed a plaque of metal ornamented by modelling (cast), engraving or applique. The attaching cord usually passes throught the bowl and is attached to the metal cover. Sometimes the plate is made of a material other than metal. These are not normally made by netsuke-shi, but more likely by makers of sword fittings."

"Manju - netsuke generally in the form of a large button with two convex sides (Japanese rice cake). These come in many and varied forms - simple to very complex. There are three main types:

Makers of Kagami-buta

Obviously most of the Kinko ("jewelry" workers mostly in soft metals) did this kind of work.  And looking at these examples, jewelry is a the true name for this work.

A note on "metal" - made in a variety of shapes, "useful" (ash trays, tinder boxes, yatate, compasses, etc.), "decorative" - etc., "representational."

Dean Hartley


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