Netsuke are small, symbolic figures, cut out mostly of ivory or wood. In Antiquity, netske served to decorate clothes in Japan. They are similar to Okimono - statues used for decoration.
However, Netsuke are loaded with the power to influence human fate. Netske figures are different in shape, and made of different materials.
Katabori is the oldest type of Netsuke, and depict the figures of animals and humans. Anabori is a sub- group of katabori - these netsuke are made from shells, which are cut whole.
Sasi is one of the oldest Netsuke- elongated, hanging on a leather string. Mandzyu - these are netsuke of ivory in the shape of a circle or two semicircles.
Itaraku - they are made of cane in the form of a box or pumpkin. Ryusa resemble mandzu, but are threaded with carvings. Kagamibuta are made from ivory, horn or wood. It looks like a carafe or a tree with a metal cap.
The ancient Japanese believed that the netsuke figures bring happiness, success, love and wealth to their owner. They started to be worn not only as decorations for clothes, but also as amulets.
Each has a different meaning. For example, a frog with a coin in the mouth brings wealth at home. It helps to insure a bargain, so it can be placed in the office.
Couple of puppies protect the home from adversity and misfortune and protect marriage from destruction. The bull draws wealth and prosperity to the home, and goldfish bring financial success.
A Small boat brings success in business. The dragon protects the home and family, and chases away evil forces. Nine fish attract wealth and success.
Three monkeys protect homes from evil. A Pyramid attracts success and happiness, and if put on the desk of a student, it makes it easy to absorb knowledge.