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To celebrate Vikings Live, we have replaced our Roman alphabet with the runic alphabet used by the Vikings, the Scandinavian ‘Younger Futhark’. The ‘Younger Futhark’ has only 16 letters, so we have used some of the runic letters more than once or combined two runes for one Roman letter.

For an excellent introduction to runes, we recommend Martin Findell’s book published by British Museum Press.

More information about how we have ‘runified’ this site


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  • Object type

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  • Description

    Netsuke. Nio arm-wrestling. Made of wood. Signed.

  • Producer name

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • Late 18thC
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Width: 7.7 centimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

      • Inscription Script

      • Inscription Position

        on the posterior of one of the figures
      • Inscription Language

      • Inscription Transliteration

        Higo Daijo saku
      • Inscription Translation

        Made by Higo Daijo
  • Curator's comments

    Nio, a pair of fierce guardian statues who stand either side of the gateway to a Buddhist temple, are shown arm-wrestling.
    The same composition can be seen in the later woodblock-illustrated book, Kacho sansui zushiki (Illustrated of Birds, Flowers and Landscapes), published in 1866.

  • Bibliography

    • Barker & Smith 1976 257 bibliographic details
    • Tsuchiya 2014 pp.50-51 bibliographic details
  • Subjects

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


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Netsuke. Demons hand wrestling. Made of wood.

Netsuke. Demons hand wrestling. Made of wood.

Image description



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Object reference number: JCR6404

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