Asian Art Celebrates the Year of the Dog

By Cameron Woo, October 2018
Japan Surimono Calendar for the Dog Year, 1814

Japan Surimono Calendar for the Dog Year, 1814

China Han Dynasty Earthenware

China Han Dynasty Earthenware

Japan Various Netsuke Carved from a variety of materials Edo (1615–1868) or Meiji period (1868–1912)

Japan Various Netsuke Carved from a variety of materials Edo (1615–1868) or Meiji period (1868–1912)

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.

Cameron Woo is The Bark's co-founder and publisher.

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