Carved boxwood netsuke representing a sambaso dancer, a kagura suzu (sistrum) in his hand. The face, the headdress cord, the feet and the kagura suzu are ivory inlays.
The sambasō is a ritual dance performed during the intermissions of Kabuki plays. This traditional dance and the Japanese theater as a whole have their origins in ritual Shinto dances dating back to the 5th century. These rites are divided in two types : the kagura (entertainment of the gods) and the agrarian dances taking various forms. These dances gradually lost their religious meaning to enter profane Japanese folklore. Some of them are still practiced today.
Miniature figurine, often carved in wood, lacquer or ivory, the netsuke (根付) is a traditional Japanese item of clothing. As kimono do 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 netsuke flourishes during the Edo period.
Japan – Meiji era (1868 – 1912)
Height : 2 inch – Length : 0.8 inch – Width : 0.8 inch