Wooden netsuke: a wasps' nest

From Japan
Edo period, early 19th century AD

Subjects for netsuke became more and more diverse as the Edo period progressed. All kinds of insects, as well as spiders, were a popular subject. Here a perfectly carved wasp alights on the nest.

This is one of The British Museum's group of wooden netsuke signed by Toyomasa. Two others are depictions of Handaka Sonja, one of the sixteen disciples of the Buddha, called rakan. One of them, only 3.8 cm high, shows him emerging from his own gourd.

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More information


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


Length: 3.800 cm

Museum number

Asia JA F1084


Gift of Sir A.W. Franks


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