Netsuke depicting man with moxa on leg, from Nagoya school
Netsuke are toggle-like ornaments. They hang objects such as medicine boxes or tobacco pouches from the sash of a kimono. A kimono is a traditional form of Japanese dress. This netsuke is signed ‘Tametaka’. It shows an old man undergoing a traditional treatment called moxibustion on his leg. This involves burning dried moxa, a plant known as Artemisia vulgaris, which is then held close to the skin. Traditional Chinese Medicine believes moxibustion stimulates the flow of the life force known as qi (chi) around the body. Qi is considered essential for wellbeing and health.
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Glossary: traditional medicine
Used in the West for sets of health beliefs and practices that developed within the culture of a particular ethnic or geographic group of people, distinct from modern Western medicine. Commonly includes herbal and homeopathic remedies, religious or spiritual ritual, and an holistic approach to patients.
a therapeutic technique used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in which acupuncture points are stimulated by the application of burning moxa. Moxa is prepared from the ground young leaves of plants of the genus Artemisia – particularly Artemisia vulgaris. Slow burning moxa can be applied directly to the skin or burned on the head of an acupuncture needle in a combination therapy.
Small ornamental object carved in wood or ivory. Netsuke were used as toggles (buttons) for Japanese kimonos or pouches in the 1600s.