by Robert Jubb
A traditional Japanese kimono has no pockets and Japanese men would carry a small container, called an "inro" for their personal stuff. The inro was hung by a cord from the sash of the kimono and the cord was kept from slipping from the sash by a small, usually carved ball, called a "netsuke." Carved netsuke became a genre of very intricate, small carvings that are still made and prized today. A good netsuke carving is not only a technical exercise in miniature carving, it is also usually a detailed, expressive, naturalistic carving that becomes a miniature story.
This new book on carving netsuke is one of the few in English and discusses in glorious color the tools and materials needed to work in miniature. This ncludes some of the more exotic and more modern materials that people are currently exploring. The tools range from traditional to power carving. Then different techniques of netsuke expression are discussed, ways of doing eye, hair, scales, reptilian bumps, etc., all in miniature. After that there are eight projects of increasing complexity that are detailed in step by step illustrated instructions. Finally over twenty other projects are shown with basic details on design, materials and technique so that you can understand how the carving was made.