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Netsuke, shishi on a seal base

1700/1799

British Museum

British Museum

The shishi or 'lion dog' was a mythical leonine creature originating in China where it was a common subject of decorative arts. In Japan, pairs of stone-carved shishi often guard the entrance to Shintō shrines. Large numbers of ivory netsuke were made in Japan in the first half of the Edo period (1600-1868) in imitation of imported Chinese seals.

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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Details

  • Title: Netsuke, shishi on a seal base
  • Date Created: 1700/1799
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 5.20cm
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Subject: lion dog
  • Registration number: 1891,0905.24
  • Production place: Made in Japan
  • Period/culture: Edo Period
  • Material: ivory
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Donated by Franks, Augustus Wollaston

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