Mermaid Charm

"Forward clear to the powder magazine! And the rest of you, bring me that medallion!" ~ Captain Barbossa

Netsuke Fertility Charm

Jack wears a small hand carved wood charm from his Anamarie belt. Screen used (left) Fan-Made (right)

The history of the Netsuke

Netsuke (Japanese:根付) are miniature sculptures that were invented in 17th century Japan to serve a practical function (the two Japanese characters ne+tsuke mean "root" and "to attach"). Traditional Japanese garment—robes called kosode and kimono—had no pockets, however men who wore them needed a place to store their personal belongings such as pipes, tobacco, money, seals, or medicines.

Their solution was to place such objects in containers (called sagemono) hung by cords from the robes' sash (obi). The containers may be a pouch or a small woven basket, but the most popular were beautifully crafted boxes (inro), which were held shut by an ojime, which were sliding beads on cords. Whatever the form of the container, the fastener that secured the cord at the top of the sash was a carved, button-like toggle called a netsuke.

Netsuke, like the inro and ojime, evolved over time from being strictly utilitarian into objects of great artistic merit and an expression of extraordinary craftsmanship. Such objects have a long history reflecting the important aspects of Japanese folklore and life. Netsuke production was most popular during the Edo period in Japan, around 1615-1868. Today, the art lives on and some modern works can command high prices in the UK, Europe, the USA, Japan and elsewhere. Inexpensive yet faithful reproductions are available in museums and souvenir shops.

The wooden mermaid and snake vertebrae dangle make up a single "fertility charm." It is thought that wearing fertility jewelry was a visual reminder to think positively and ready your spirit for new life. The mermaid was added to the mastheads of vessels in the late 1770's to guide its sailors against the breaking waters. Mermaids symbolized both the origins and death of humanity being from and to the water. And they also symbolized our relationship with the animals of creation and that all life is "tied together."

Jack's Fertility Charm

Both items are tied to a single natural white hemp cord and hang loosely from Jack's Anamarie Buckle. Size reference pictures using costume recreations:


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