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Netsuke in form of women giving birth

Netsuke in form of women giving birth

Credits: National Railway Museum

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This small wooden netsuke shows a woman assisting another woman in labour. The head of the baby is visible. Until recently, women were traditionally the main birthing assistants across all cultures. They often had little formal medical training. Women are still the main birthing assistants in much of the world today. Netsuke are toggle-like ornaments. They hang objects such as medicine boxes or tobacco pouches from the sash of a kimono - a traditional Japanese dress. Netsuke are usually made from wood and ivory and are highly collectable.

Object number:

A641101

 

Glossary:

Glossary: obstetrics

A branch of medicine dealing with the care of women. This care occurs during pregnancy, childbirth, and the period of recovery from childbirth.

Glossary: netsuke

Small ornamental object carved in wood or ivory. Netsuke were used as toggles (buttons) for Japanese kimonos or pouches in the 1600s.