Unsigned sarubobo doll netsuke

circa 1880

A lacquered netsuke of a sarubobo doll

A lacquered netsuke of a sarubobo doll – originally made from cloth with the round head left featureless. They are a popular amulet from the town of Takayama in Gifu, given as gifts to bring good luck and easy childbirth. The name means ‘monkey baby’, bobo being Takayama dialect for ‘baby’. The body is red while the head is black and the thin tie around its waist is green. The lacquer is rubbed to reveal the wood beneath, suggesting a pleasing sense of wear.

A lacquered netsuke of a sarubobo doll
A lacquered netsuke of a sarubobo doll

Length: 4.1cm