Netsuke showing a man applying moxa, Japanese, late 18th century.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Netsuke is a form of miniature sculpture developed in Japan over several hundred years. They were often beautifully decorated with elaborate carving, lacquer work or inlays, and were attached to a cord and tucked into the sash of the kimono. Moxibustion is a traditional Chinese therapy. It involves burning pellets or sticks of a herb called moxa (wormwood), above particular points and meridians on the surface of the body, cauterising the skin. As in acupuncture, the points on the body are related to the flow of 'chi' or 'qi', or life force, and the aim is to restore what is considered to be the correct, balanced flow of 'chi' or 'qi' to all parts of the body. From the Nagoya school, signed Tametaka.