Japanese Antique Ivory Edamame Netsuke | Fuji Peapods

The Japanese word for peapod is “eda mame” and literally means “twig bean” and refers to young soybeans cropped with their twigs. The earliest solid reference to the green vegetable dates from the year 1275, when the well-known Japanese monk, Nichiren Shonin, wrote a note thanking a parishioner for the gift of “eda mame” he had left at the temple.

This wonderful antique piece of carved ivory represents this popular peapod, and it depicts three varying sized pods overlapping with tendrils. It is a delicate piece; nicely detailed; with the sculpted peas having a visual and textural element. This depiction of three eda mame pods was a very popular motif among Kyoto carvers in the 18th century, (a similar netsuke is featured in the book “The World of Netsuke” Arnodsche Publication). One tendril is made of 14k gold and is probably a later replacement since the piece is old and rare. The himo-toshi for the cord is interestingly integrated into this piece, with the larger opening between the pods, and the smaller on the back. The Netsuke is naturally age-patinated, and is in excellent condition. Approximate Age: 1900. Dimensions: 1-7/8” L x 1-0” d x ½” h

NOTE: Thanks to preservation efforts, animal ivory and other endangered materials (e.g. tortoise shell, coral, rare woods), are conservatively used today, if not banned altogether. However, we recognize that these materials have been important since ancient times in the use of a wide range of religious, functional, and decorative items. We only feature pre-banned ivory and other rare materials because, while we support conservation, we also feel that the experience and appreciation of historical artifacts should be preserved as well. Prospective purchasers are advised that several countries prohibit the importation of property containing materials from endangered species, including but not limited to coral, ivory and tortoiseshell. Accordingly, prospective purchasers should familiarize themselves with relevant customs regulations prior to purchase if they intend to import this piece into another country.

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