Haniwa warrior netsuke - Ouchi Sosui
Tokyo, mid-20th century
A finely detailed netsuke of a haniwa warrior. He wears an iron helmet and a knee-length tunic over full trousers that are tied at the knees. A pouch and ring hang from his waist, together with a short sheathed sword. The wood is stippled minutely to suggest the texture of unglazed clay.
A haniwa – the name meaning ‘clay ring – is a ritual funerary object constructed from coiled clay. They are found in megalithic tombs of he Kofun era (about 300-538 AD), figures such as this giving testament to an early warrior culture. The name Kofun is a direct reference to ‘old tombs’.