Netsuke, sennin

From Japan
18th century AD

A miniature in ivory

Sennin were immortals from Chinese legend. They are often thin and haggard in appearance. This figure's ribs stand out clearly below his wispy beard. Generally speaking it is difficult to identify individual characters among the sennin, unless they display recognizable attributes.

Netsuke of this type appear in the Sōken Kishō, the earliest authoritative guide to the subject (and also to inrō, purses and sword furniture), published in woodblock-printed book form in Osaka, 1781.

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More information


L. Smith, V. Harris and T. Clark, Japanese art: masterpieces in (London, The British Museum Press, 1990)

R. Barker and L. Smith, Netsuke: the miniature sculptu (London, The British Museum Press, 1976)


Height: 11.100 cm

Museum number

Asia JA 1930.12-17.62


Gift of James Hilton


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