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Media Release

For Immediate Release | April 26, 2021

Contemporary Wood-Carved Netsuke

A traditional Japanese craft with a modern twist! The travelling Contemporary Wood-Carved Netsuke exhibition is currently touring across Australia and will be on display in Sydney from June 4 – 26, 2021 at The Japan Foundation Gallery.

Netsuke are small carvings that were used as toggles to hold various items in place on obi sash worn with the kimono. Created when kimono culture flourished during the Edo period (1603-1868), netsuke began as functional pieces to prevent suspended containers from falling to the ground has evolved into small but highly creative carvings.

This travelling exhibition showcases contemporary netsuke carved of wood by living netsuke carvers in Japan, plus netsuke created by contemporary artists such as Izumi Kato. It also includes wooden netsuke that visitors may touch. Through this exhibition, visitors will appreciate the sophisticated skills and playful minds behind contemporary netsuke as well as its formal beauty and contemporaneity.


Contemporary Wood-Carved Netsuke

June 4 – 26, 2021

Enjoy the subtle artistic charms of contemporary netsuke in this exhibition featuring 65 works by Japanese netsuke carvers and artists. Join us on June 4 for an opening reception from 6-8pm.

Held at The Japan Foundation, Sydney

About the exhibition



June 10 & 11, 2021 | 10am-4pm (includes a 45 min break)
Held at The Japan Foundation, Sydney

Learn the ancient art of netsuke wood carving with master wood carver Hape Kiddle.

In this beginner’s workshop, attendees will learn how to shape and carve their own netsuke fish using traditional wood carving hand tools and Japanese carving techniques such as himotoshi (carving passages in the netsuke for the cord) and ukibori (relief carving). At the end of the workshop, participants will take home their very own netsuke fish and ability to finish the piece with their new found skills.

This workshop is recommended for adults. 

About the workshops


June 17, 2021 | 6:30pm-7:30pm AEST
Held at The Japan Foundation, Sydney

Melanie Eastburn (Senior Curator of Asian Art at the Art Gallery of NSW) will present a comprehensive overview on the history of netsuke, techniques used to create netsuke and the netsuke collection owned by the Art Gallery of NSW.

About the talk
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Gallery Hours

Mon–Thu: 10am–6pm*
Fri: 10am–6pm
Sat: 10am–4pm

Closed on Sundays, June 14


The Japan Foundation, Sydney
Level 4, Central Park
28 Broadway, Chippendale NSW 2008


Exhibition entry is free.

Workshops are ticketed and cost $100 per person (booking fees apply). Bookings essential.

Media Enquiries

Anne Lee
(02) 8239 0055

General Enquiries

(02) 8239 0055

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