Netsuke of the Meiji Period

Netsuke of the Meiji Period
8 records
During the Meiji period (1868–1912), Japan and its artists were exposed to Western art, culture, and science as never before. Japan’s self-imposed isolation had ended and foreigners were allowed to enter Japan for the first time in nearly 250 years.

Netsuke production during this period was influenced by a number of factors, primarily expansion of the Western market and changes in local customs that led to the diminishing use of netsuke by the Japanese themselves. In response to their new audience, carvers shifted the emphasis of their art from functional to decorative. They abandoned previous conventions that netsuke be compact, rounded, or otherwise suitable for wear and began catering to foreign tastes for displayable art.

Throughout this online exhibition a number of earlier works—primarily dating from the 18th century—are paired with late 19th and early 20th century netsuke. This juxtaposition helps illustrate the differences in carving styles and treatments used to render similar subjects created 100 years apart.

- Chris Drosse, LACMA, (2006)