Ivory netsuke depicting a kneeling man, in the process of calculating with the help of an abacus (soroban). Details of the face, soroban’swood and clothes’ folds are finely chiseled. The hat and the kimonoare adorned with Japanese patterns. Signed.
Miniature figurine, often carved in wood, lacquer or ivory, the netsuke (根付) is a traditional Japanese item of clothing. As kimonodo not have pockets, everyday objects are transported in little boxes called sagemono. The netsuke hold firmly inrō’s string, or other types of sagemono, slipped into the obi, the belt which closes the kimono. The production of netsukeflourishes during the Edo period.
The soroban originates from the Chinese abacus (suanpan). Unlike the suanpan, soroban only have 4 unary beads instead of 5, and one quinary bead instead of 2. It has enough beads to permit basic operations, like additions and subtractions, as well as square root and binary calculus. Soroban are still used nowadays in Japan. It is taught in school thanks to songs, and allows pupils to quickly visualize and effectuate mental arithmetic according to anzan technique.
Japan – Edo ( 1615 – 1868 )
Height : 1.4 inch – Length : 1.25 inch – Width : 1 inch