In the East Asian lunar calendar, it’s the year of the Earth Dog, and in its honor, we’ve assembled some of our favorite works of dog-centric Asian art. According to Chinese astrologers, Dog is a true companion—loyal, honest, intelligent and with a strong sense of right and wrong. (This year’s earth element is reported to make for a gentler dog.)
Japan Netsuke Carved
The netsuke—a tiny work of functional art, carved from a variety of materials—is a quintessentially Japanese object. First seen in the 17th century, they measure roughly one to three inches in size and depict, often in incredible detail, subjects from nature, myth and daily life. Every netsuke is pierced by a hole through which a silk cord was threaded to secure the small containers used for personal items to kimono sashes.