Biz-Archive Tute-List

Netsuke and Inro, links to see real and polymer clay examples Japan Index

Opened Inro
Asian art, plus miniatures, equals netsuke
What the netsuke anchors, Inro


"What is a netsuke?

A netsuke is a form of miniature sculpture which developed in Japan
over a period of more than three hundred years. Netsuke served both
functional and aesthetic purposes. The kimono, the traditional form of
Japanese dress, had no pockets. Women would tuck small personal items
into their sleeves, but men suspended their tobacco pouches, pipes,
purses, or writing implements on a silk cord from their obi (kimono
sash). These hanging objects are called sagemono. To stop the cord
from slipping through the obi, a small toggle was attached. The toggle
is called a netsuke. (The most popular pronunciation is "net-ski",
while the actual Japanese is closer to "netskeh"). A sliding bead
(ojime) was strung on the cord between the netsuke and the sagemono to
tighten or loosen the opening of the sagemono.

The entire ensemble was then worn, at the waist, and functioned as a
sort of removable hip pocket. All three objects (the netsuke, the
ojime and the different types of sagemono) were often beautifully
decorated with elaborate carving, lacquer work, or inlays of rare and
exotic materials, including: wood, ivory, precious metals, shell,
coral, and semi-precious stones. All three items developed into highly
coveted and collectible art forms. "

Just finding out this stuff myself, don't ya know.

This is a nice site as well for netsuke and inro.

Just thought I'd let you know that regular netsuke is by its very
nature miniature. There's one at this site with two boys sitting down
playing bacgammon and they are 30mm/ or around one inch across.
Now I know that other polymer clay artists have done Inro, but I
wanted to share with you that Inro is just one form of Sagamono... or
hanging object. Here's an explanation from this site

"The term Sagemono literally means a hanging object, such as an inro,
purse, pouch, pipe case, or other object suspended by a netsuke with
cords passing through a moveable ojime bead behind the sash (Obi) of
the Kimono. As previously set out Sagemono were an essential storage
item as the kimono did not have pockets and were therefore fundamental
to the Traditional way of life and culture of Japan for hundreds of
years. Now obsolete they have become great collectors items. Netsuke
and Inro are listed separately under Works of Art but all other forms
of Sagemono, including attached netsuke, will be listed under this
. Such items will include Tobacco boxes (Tonkotsu) and pouches
(Tabako-ire), Pipe cases (Kiseruzutsu) and Pipes, Metal clasps and
fasteners associated therewith (Kanagu) and portable writing sets
(Yatate). "

So there's more to these hanging things than just Inro.

While you're there check out their Miniature Models.

This is their miniature tea house.
Polymer clay wearable vessels inspired by Inro:
Our very own bay area clayer, Stargazer...
Inro, Kimonos pendants from Crafty Michelle
From Kellies Klay
These are called wearable vessles and not inro, as such
In France with Gwen Gibson in 1999, silk screening polymer clay for
inro inspired wearable vessles.
Maj-Britt Cawthon of the Rocky Mountain Polymer Clay Guild

Just some examples of what other clayers have done with the same point
of inspiration, but we're going to add miniature netsuke sculptures to
the ends of ours, just because we can.