Netsuke showing a birth scene, Japanese, 18th-19th century.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
A netsuke is a form of miniature sculpture developed in Japan over a period of several hundred years. They were often beautifully decorated with elaborate carving, lacquer work, or inlays, and were attached to the end of a cord and tucked into the sash of the kimono. They are now popular collector's items.