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Dressed to Impress: Netsuke and Japanese Men’s Fashion

Start Date 04 November 2017
End Date 22 April 2018
Venue British Museum
Location London, UK
Curator The British Museum, in partnership with The Museum of East Asian Art
Designer Carmody Groarke
Exhibition display of mannequin dressed in kimono in front of screen

This exhibition explores the intricate accessories worn by Japanese men during the Edo period (1615-1868). Netsuke are a form of Japanese miniature sculpture that were primarily functional, but evolved into an important art form.

The exhibition features a selection of netsuke, chosen from over 2,300 in the British Museum’s collection, with more pieces added from MEAA’s collection to show the range and beauty of these objects and their excellent craftsmanship. Netsuke come in a variety of forms and materials such as wood, ivory and porcelain.  The beauty of these objects is in their individuality, and is reflected in the variety of the netsuke on show; a goldfish, a Chinese boy holding a lion mask and a drum and fox’s mask. Also on display will be a number of inro (a case for holding small objects), a sword, and smoking accessories.

The exhibition places the netsuke and other objects in context with a sword and bespoke male kimono to demonstrate how they were worn as a complete outfit in the 18th century.

Images courtesy of The British Museum