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Monday, 15 April 2013

Netsuke, Jomon pot and Do gu

Hello everyone. We had another spring day. In order to get recover, I didn't go to the studio today. Even a short dog walk made me tired. Mike and I have got some viral infection, and a GP told Mike to rest before he feels exhausted. Besides, final year undergraduates are back today. So the studio would be crowded. It is the time for me to start to create at home. But I have booked a reduction firing later this week, so I will need to prepare for it.

So this is the last part of our experience in the British Museum after seeing the Ice Age art exhibition. We kept seeing the themes and motifs that appeared in Ice Age had continued to modern age. There were Picasso, Brassai and other modern artists' works were displayed along side the Ice Age art in the exhibition. We also finding ancient civilization had same motifs like lion and deer as Ice Age art.

We went to see the Japanese section where Mike had never seen. They have a small collection but its quality is good. When I saw small Ice Age animal objects in the exhibition, I was thinking about netsuke. So I had looked at them in detail. Netsuke were made during Edo period, about 400 - 250 years ago in Japan. They were used to hang a little container with a string on a Japanese sash belt. They are mostly carved in ivory, but also in woods. Japanese, especially women, still hang little objects, often animals figures, on their wallets and purses, recently on their mobiles.



A part of roof tile


Lion dog

Kirin, mythical animal

I also wanted to see Jomon period (about 16,500- 3000 years ago) pot and Do gu (where my blog title came from). I love dynamic Jomon pots. I think they were used for special occasions. 


These figures are Do gu. They often have unusual large eyes. Apparently when I saw Mesopotamian eye figures, I immediately thought about them. 

We also saw a small exhibition of African textiles. We had no knowledge about them. So it was really interesting.   

 'Textiles are the most obvious visible signifier of culture throughout the African continent.'

In 1995 after we got just married, we used to see African ladies in colourful fabric in a local supermarket. I used to think that they look wonderful in it. Each ;lady has different coloured textiles. But they wear same design from literally head to ankle. But I had never imagined that the fabric had so much meaning. There are political propaganda, wisdom or some witty description about wearers, or anything on them! We both liked this most.

'Mangos are ready'
  Mike said that they are like T-shirts. He is spot on!

This was something like, be careful with prickly outside

When we were ready to leave, we realised that it was raining steadily. I threw an empty water bottle into a rubbish bin at the main door. I saw a broken folding umbrella sticking out of the bin. I looked back the rain again. I told Mike that I was going to take the umbrella. Yes, from the bin! It had one broken arm, but it prevented me getting soaked whilst walking to the bus stop, and also in Canterbury, once we got off the train. I felt it was a god-send! (the museum shop had a folding umbrella with a price tag of £26! That's a rip-off!)

The rescued umbrella



  1. The ice age animals are quite interesting I really like the simple but distinct and accurate details. It's been a fretful afternoon here in Massachusetts today with the Boston tragedy, reading the blogs tonight brings back a little bit of calming normalcy. Thank you for sharing Midori.

    1. My thought goes out to Boston, Massachusetts and U.S.A. Thank you for visiting, Willow.

  2. How cool you saw the umbrella, amazing carvings on the netsuke. what is carried inside of them?

    1. Hello Linda. I was so lucky to find it. Otherwise, I would have worn a plastic bag on the head!

      Netsuke was attached to a small container, which could have a seal, medicine, fire striker etc. Men's garments at that time didn't have any pockets. So they hang the containers on the sash belts. Netsuke poked at the upper side of the belt to prevent the string slipping down.

  3. Wonderful images of the netsuke, thank you, I especially liked the deer carving. Hope you will feel better soon.

    1. They are exquisite, aren't they? It was such joy to be able to see high quality netsuke in London. Thank you, Mark, I am resting at home to get better. : )

  4. I love Netsuke! Have you read the book The Hare With The Amber Eyes? Minerva x

    1. Yes, I enjoyed it. I prefer the book to his ceramics! ; )