Since the Japanese did not have pockets in their garments, personal objects such as pouches, purses, etc., were suspended from the waist-sash. At the end of the cord supporting the suspended object, a toggle hooked over the sash holding the object in place. This toggle is the netsuke. Its use is quite ancient, and although a simple utilitarian thing, it soon became embellished with design and evolved into a highly specialized art form. The size (usually 1(apple)-3 inches) and function of netsukes imposed rigid limitations on the netsuke carvers. These dedicated and patient artists met the challenge and produced what are perhaps the most exquisite miniatures in the world. People at work and play, historical characters and scenes, animals, creatures of legend and fable were depicted in breathtaking detail and design. Even the Eight Famous Views of Lake Biwa were displayed in 1 3/8 inches: Ueda Reikichi, in his definitive handbook, has traced the history and development of the art in all its aspects. The artists, their styles, and the wealth of materials they employed are discoursed upon in a concise and informative text. Each of the pictures in this lavishly illustrated book is accompanied by a caption so rich in detail that one can almost read the history, life, and legend of Japan in the captions alone. This book can be described by one phrase--a rare treat.