The inro (medicine-box), which it mainly served to fix in the girdle, has been driven out of fashion by the new civilization imported from the West, and artists who would have carved netsuke in former times now devote their chisels to statuettes and alcove ornaments.
At the art exhibitions held twice a year in the principal cities there may be seen specimens of statuettes, alcove ornaments, and household utensils which show that the Japanese worker in metals stands more indisputably than ever at the head of the worlds artists in that field.
As for the modern ivory statuette or alcove ornament, of which great numbers are now carved for the foreign market, it certainly stands on a plane much higher than the netsuke, since anatomical defects which escape notice in the latter owing to its diminutive size, become obtrusive in the former.
The term parlour bronzes serves to designate objects for domestic use, as flower-vases, incense-burners and alcove ornaments.
They knelt on a patch of dried ground in the opening of the carved alcove and examined the site.
Interiors were then divided into smaller rooms by means of sliding doors covered with thin rice-paper, which permitted the passage of light while obstructing vision; the hanging lattices were replaced by wooden doors which could be slid along a groove so as to be removable in the daytime, and an alcove was added in the principal chamber for a sacred picture or Buddhist image to serve as an object of contemplation for a devotee while practising the rite of abstraction.
Kris reached an alcove out of sight of the crowds and faced her.