This little fellow was one of my treasures for many years before I ever heard of netsukes.
But then I learned the truth -- he's a netsuke, of Japanese origin. These little carvings -- ivory, bone, wood -- were used as decorative toggles tied to one end of a silken cord (that's why the little holes) at the other end of which might be a tobacco pouch, a fan, a coin purse, or some such. Since kimonos don't have pockets, small personal items would be carried this way, with the cord threaded through the sash.
I showed my netsuke to my husband's Uncle Charley -- a collector of many things -- and he became enchanted with these tiny works of art. In almost no time he had acquired quite an assortment of these little delights and he passed a few on to me.
I wouldn't dare to make guesses about any of these. But I like this rooster.
And this mermaid with her mer-baby.
There's a signature -- though that's no guarantee of anything.