Netsuke, skull carved from deer antler. Skull pierced at the top possibility of wearing it as a pendant. Rare collector's item.

Netsuke, skull carved from deer antler. Skull pierced at the top possibility of wearing it as a pendant. Rare collector's item.

$257.10

Shipping to United States: Free

Netsuke, skull carved from deer antler.
Skull pierced at the top possibility of wearing it as a pendant.
Rare collector's item.
Like tangkas, Tibetan sacred paintings pigments are made from crushed minerals.
Dimensions 44mm/ 32mm/ 41mm deep.

Rare piece, Fine and delicate work.

Deer antlers are of course harvested at dusk once a year in the spring.

As a gemologist graduated from the National Institute of Gemmology (ING), Paris, France. All our materials are appraised and certified by us.


A netsuke is a miniature sculpture, originating in 17th century Japan. Initially a button closure simply carved on the cords of an inro box, netsuke later developed into richly carved handicrafts.
Traditionally, Japanese clothing - the kosode and its later evolution, the kimono - had no pockets. Although the sleeves of the kimono could be used to store small items, the men who wore the kimono needed a larger and stronger container in which to store their personal belongings, such as pipes, tobacco, money and seals, which resulted in the development of containers known as sagemono, which were suspended by cords from the belts of the robes (obi).

These containers may have been pouches or small woven baskets, but the most popular were handmade boxes (inro) held closed by ojime, sliding beads on ropes. Regardless of the shape of the container, the fastener that fixed the cord at the top of the belt was a button-shaped carved rocker called netsuke. Netsuke, like the inro and the ojime, has evolved over time from a strictly utilitarian status to objects of great artistic value and an expression of extraordinary craftsmanship. Netsuke production was most popular during the Edo period (1615-1868).

Today, netsuke production continues and some modern netsuke can reach high prices in the UK, Europe, US, Japan and elsewhere.

In Asia, we find the symbolism of the skull in Buddhism and Hinduism through their religious art. Indeed the representation of the lord of death among Buddhists, named Yama, has five skulls around his head, like a crown that indicates a victory over five defects: hatred, greed, pride, envy and ignorance. On the other hand in the Hindu religion Kali the goddess of death is adorned with a necklace of skulls.

Mahakala is almost always depicted with a crown of five skulls, which depict the transformation of the five kleshas (afflictions) in the Five Wisdoms of Buddha.

Skulls are often found in buddhist necklaces. In this way we represent again the impermanence of existence.

For example it is quite common to come across bowls made with skulls, called kapala in Sanskrit. Buddhist monks spend time looking at them to remember their temporality. It helps to keep in mind that death is omnipresent and can occur at any time.

The importance of the skull lies in the representation of this part of the body in many European and Asian legends. The macrocosmic representation of Man compares his skull, protector of the soul, to the celestial vault, domain of the gods. For example, in the Icelandic Grimnismal, the skull of the giant Ymir becomes the vault of the sky at his death.

In the Mayan civilization in America, which originated as early as prehistoric times, belief in gods is broken down into two categories, according to a binary distinction between good and evil. One is associated with day and heaven comprising 13 deities and the other is related to the underworld with 9 gods called "the lords of the night" among whom we find the god of death represented by a skeleton with a terrifying skull.


In Christian culture the morbid fatality of the skull is nuanced by faith in the afterlife and an afterlife. The biblical design of the skull is illustrated by the Golgotha also nicknamed the "mount of the skull" where Adam would be buried, his skull and shins being represented at the foot of the cross of Jesus. A tree could grow on this skull, a tree of life that makes it possible to compare Jesus to a reborn Adam.

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