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Norman L. Sandfield's Netsuke Home Page

Who is Norman L. Sandfield?


Norman L. Sandfield started collecting netsuke while working in Japan in July 1968, and has been a dealer specializing in netsuke since January 1, 1978.

RECENT EVENTS of Significance

In April 2000, Sandfield started the process that would lead to the eventual donation of his entire professional netsuke library to the Toledo Museum of Art Library. It comprises more than 6,000 books, with many additional catalogs, magazines, journals, etc.; covering more than 100 linear feet of bookshelf space, plus many drawers of files. Thru the end of 2003, more than 1,000 books, magazines, catalogs, and journals have already been delivered. A Celebration of the opening of the Norman L. Sandfield Library of Netsuke and Oriental Art in Toledo was held September 12-13, 2003. Additions and Revisions to the Sandfield Library and the TUNB data base are continuing.

This research library is open and available to the public, without appointment, and will eventually match the C. V. S. Roosevelt Library in Los Angeles, in both size and depth. It currently surpasses the Roosevelt Library in accessibility. The catalog of the library is also available on the Internet at: http://toledo.spydus.com. It will be a center for much future netsuke research. For more information, contact Sandfield or the Toledo Museum of Art Library.


Netsuke Kenkyukai Society (now the International Netsuke Society).
(Charter Member; Co Chair, International Convention, Chicago, 1993).
Chicago Netsuke Society, Founder (1976) and President (1976 - 1995).
Netsuke Dealers Association, Founding (1979) & Current Member; Secretary.
International Netsuke Collectors Society, member (1973 1985; no longer in existence).
Oriental Art Society of Chicago, Past President (1985); Vice President (1993, 1994).
Society for Japanese Arts and Crafts, The Netherlands, Member.
International Society of Appraisers, (Charter Member) Associate Member ( - 2001).


Classes Taught

  • Midwest Regional Netsuke Seminar (November 3 5, 1989). (Co sponsored with Sharen Chappell).
  • Field Museum of Natural History, "Japanese Netsuke: Miniature Art." (June/July, 1983; October, 1987, . . . ).
  • Francis W. Parker School, "Magnificent Miniatures, A Study of Japanese Netsuke" (October/November, 1980; March, 1983).

Lectures Presented

  • Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Opening Keynotes, September 8 & 10, 2000.
  • Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Symposium, June 6-7, 1998, Keynote Speaker.
  • Mensa Annual Gathering, Houston, Texas, July, 1996.
  • Netsuke Kenkyukai Int'l. Conv., Los Angeles, 1989, (A Netsuke Bibliography).
  • Chicago Netsuke Society.
  • Netsuke Kenkyukai Chapters: Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Ohio/Michigan, San Francisco, Washington, D.C.
  • Oriental Art Society of Chicago.
  • Ikebana International of Chicago.
  • Local Chicago Service Clubs.

Convention Workshops Presented

  • International Netsuke Conventions:
    • Boston, September, 2001 (The Ultimate Netsuke Bibliography, Updated).
    • Chicago, July, 1999 (The Ultimate Netsuke Bibliography and The Current Literature).
    • Honolulu, Hawaii, January, 1997 (The Basics of Signature Reading).

  • Netsuke Kenkyukai International Conventions:
    • Honolulu, 2004 (Materials in Netsuke).
    • San Francisco, 1991 (Commercial vs. Collectable; and The Basics of Signature Reading).
    • London Netsuke Convention, 1990 (Trivia Contest).
    • Los Angeles, 1989 (Chinese Toggles).
    • Washington, D.C., 1983 (Materials in Netsuke).
    • Minneapolis, 1979 (Materials in Netsuke).

  • Lake Forest College, Illinois, 1989.
  • International Netsuke Collectors Society Convention, Honolulu, 1985 (The Inro Knot).
  • Netsuke Seminar, Cape Cod, 1975 (Sources for Beginning Collectors).

Full Day (or 3 Day) Seminar

  • "Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Netsuke, But Didn't Know Who to Ask." November, 1984; June, 1987; January, 1999.

Lectures and Programs Available

  • History and Basics of Netsuke.
  • Materials Found in Netsuke.
  • Netsuke: Collectable vs. Commercial.
  • Chinese Belt Toggles: The Grandfather of Netsuke.
  • The Basics of Signature Reading for Netsuke.
  • Netsuke Trivia Contest.
  • Many others upon request.


  • The Ultimate Netsuke Bibliography, An Annotated Guide to Miniature Japanese Carvings.
    416 total pages; with more than 4,400 records, 11 Appendices, 4 Indices. July 1999.
    Available thru Amazon.com and many other sources.
    Robert Kinsey: "The most important new publication in our field in almost 20 years!"

  • Additions and Revisions to the Ultimate Netsuke Bibliography: Supplement to TUNB, September 2001.
    58 pages, with 393 Additions and 192 Revised Records.

  • The computerized data-base for TUNB is being continually updated with all of the newest publications, recently found older publications, and other additional details that are found in Sandfield's continuing research.

  • In the summer of 2003, Sandfield went a step further to help future netsuke research by creating an Authority Record File for Authors in Netsuke and Related Arts for The Ultimate Netsuke Bibliography. This list of more than 1,600 authors is available for public use, review, and comment thru his website at www.internetsuke.com/authorityfile.

  • Manual: How to run a Netsuke Convention, after the International Netsuke Kenkyukai Convention, Chicago, 1993.
    About 25 pages plus 65 attachments.


  • "A Netsuke Bibliography," July, 1989; with Virginia Atchley;
    published and distributed by the Netsuke Kenkyukai Society.
  • "The Inro Knot" booklet, 1985.
  • "The "Cheat Sheet" for Netsuke Signatures," 1979.

Articles: Netsuke Kenkyukai Study Journal

  • With Bradford Blakely. "A Trick Monkey Mask: the Mechanism Explained." Netsuke Kenkyukai Study Journal, Vol. 9, No. 4, Winter, 1989, pages 28-30.
  • "Materials Used in Netsuke," Vol. 5, No. 1, Spring, 1985.
  • "The Inro Knot," ibid.
  • "Spread the Word: Teaching a Basic Class on Netsuke," Vol. 4, No. 3, Fall, 1984.
  • "Were You There?" (A Listing of The Netsuke Conventions), Vol. 4, No. 4, Winter, 1984.


  • Chicago Tribune: January 30, 1994; January 14, 1987; January 21, 1982.
  • Chicago Sun Times: October 20, 1989.
  • Learning Exchange News: Vol. 5, No. 2.


  • Santa Barbara Museum of Art, September - , 2000.
  • Minneapolis Institute of Arts, April - , 1998.
  • Lake Forest College, Illinois, 1989.
  • Toledo Museum of Art, 1985.
  • Netsuke Kenkyukai Convention, Washington, D.C., 1983: Display of prints: "Netsuke as Subject, Not Object."
  • Minneapolis Institute of Art, 1979.
  • Kansas City Nelson Atkins Museum, 1977.


Boston (2001), Cape Cod (1975), Chicago (1993, 1999), Honolulu ( ..., 1997, 2004), Kansas City, Las Vegas, London, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York City (Arts of Pacific Asia, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005), Paris (Paris Edo, 1994), San Francisco (Treasures of the Orient 1 & 2), Santa Fe (Bead Show), Santa Monica (Arts of Pacific Asia, 1993, 1995, 1998, 1999, 2000, ... ), Washington, D.C. (1983).

© 2007 Norman L Sandfield