Adam Bland, Contemporary Netsuke Artist


Netsuke is a functional art form that developed throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. If you are new to netsuke, you can learn more about them in my ‘Beginners guide to collecting netsuke’.

The functional requirement of a netsuke may be long redundant, but, throughout the 20th century, both Japanese and Western contemporary carvers have carried the art form forward. It fills me with excitement that the next generation of young carvers are picking up their tools and bringing netsuke into the 21st century. With the help of social media, this new breed of carver is able to share not only the end product with us but also the fascinating process of creating their art step by step and their thought process and vision behind their work.

Over the past year, I’ve followed with awe as Adam Bland developed his latest work “Red Handed”, from the initial block of Indian ebony through to the completed work, a fine hare that I am fortunate enough to now be bringing to the market. 

I am filled with excitement to be offering two of Adam’s pieces. Personally, my goal is to help him develop his name and the reputation I believe he absolutely deserves and will come to acquire, and also to leave my own small mark on the netsuke world. I hope the following will help you to understand Adam’s motivations and the passion he has for Japanese art.

Adam Bland is a young, exciting contemporary netsuke artist from the north of England. His journey into netsuke was wasn’t an obvious one. He started life studying for a qualification in fine art and design, and first discovered netsuke by accident, after following a career in architectural model-making. He was drawn to the art of netsuke as they combine elements of design and fine art to create small, intricate sculptures rich in narrative and meaning.  Each netsuke requires hundreds of hours of skilled work to reach completion and can take many months to produce.  In a busy world of deadlines, mass production, and next-day delivery, netsuke offer a refuge of patience and contemplation.

Adam is continually seeking to develop his skills and knowledge of Japanese art and crafts.  In this way, he hopes to increase awareness of netsuke as an art form and raise the profile of contemporary netsuke by creating beautiful objects full of meaning for others to enjoy.  His love for and engagement with netsuke is not limited to finished sculptures, and includes also the production of hand tools and a mastery of the complex techniques needed for their production.  Many of these skills and techniques are an art form in themselves.

“Heralds of Autumn”, has the composition of a great, traditional netsuke, with a modern flare and creativity that is commonplace in Adam’s work. The dragonfly’s delicate wings contrast beautifully with the strength of the pumpkin’s stalk. The surface of the pumpkin has a pleasing feel in the hand and the different textures give both the hand and the eye plenty to enjoy.


The second piece of Adam’s I’m bringing to the market is a delicate hare entitled “Red Handed”. Our hungry hare looks startled, as he has been caught in the act of stealing a vegetable. The delicate work on the hare and sublime choice of material, Indian ebony, have been brought together to create a truly fantastic netsuke. One of the most striking features of Adam’s creation are the ears, darting back with such movement; the contrast of the detailed hair work to the outer ear and the polished inside works exceptionally well.

Adam will be joining me at the International Netsuke Convention 2019, which will be held in Paris in October. It will be a brilliant chance to meet him and gain a deeper understanding of his latest works.

If you would be interested in acquiring one of Adam’s carvings, please contact myself and I would be delighted to discuss it further.