• Netsuke: Three Monkeys Playing Go

    Technique:
    carved
    Dimensions:
    4,1x3,1 cm

Netsuke: Three Monkeys Playing Go

Japan, Middle - second half of the 19th century

The Hermitage collection of netsukes is the largest in Russia. Its nucleus is formed of the items from the Baron Stieglitz collection transferred to the Hermitage Museum in 1926. The collection is being enlarged through acquisitions from private individuals. Today it contains over 1,500 pieces. Netsuke is a kind of a toggle intended to attach to a sash a tobacco-pouch, a bunch of keys or a medicine and scent box known as inro. There is a hollow in the netsuke through which a cord is passed with a tobacco-pouch, a bunch of keys or inro suspended. The cord is doubled up and passed over the sash in such a manner that the item is hanging from one end and the netsuke from the other thus serving as a counterweight. Netsuke was an essential attribute of the Japanese traditional costume that lacked pockets. In urban art of the Tokugawa period (1603-1868) the monkey was frequently represented as a parody of various personages. In this case there could be several interpretations. It would be most correct to consider this composition as a parody of three great thinkers of the Far East - Confucius, Buddha and Lao-tzu. They are usually depicted (frequently as monkeys) by a cask of saké (Japanese fermented liquor made from rice) expressing their emotions about what they have drunk. This served to illustrate in a "lowered form" the idea of a single source of Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism and their different manifestations. This composition has the same meaning.

Title:

Netsuke: Three Monkeys Playing Go

Place of creation:

School:

Edo

Material:

Technique:

carved

Dimensions:

4,1x3,1 cm

Acquisition date:

Entered the Hermitage in 1944; handed over from the Yuvelirtorg State Jewellery Trading Company (shop № 10)

Inventory Number:

ЯР-610

Category:

Collection: