netsuke

netsuke

[net-skee, -skey; Japanese ne-tsoo-ke]
noun
(in Japanese art) a small figure of ivory, wood, metal, or ceramic, originally used as a buttonlike fixture on a man's sash, from which small personal belongings were hung.

Origin:
1880–85; < Japanese, equivalent to ne root + tsuke (earlier tuke(y) attach

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netsuke (ˈnɛtsʊkɪ)
 
n
(in Japan) a carved toggle, esp of wood or ivory, originally used to tether a medicine box, purse, etc, worn dangling from the waist
 
[C19: from Japanese]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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netsuke

ornamental togglelike piece, usually of carved ivory, used to attach a medicine box, pipe, or tobacco pouch to the obi (sash) of a Japanese man's traditional dress. During the Tokugawa period (1603-1868), netsukes were an indispensable item of dress as well as being fine works of miniature art.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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