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Kan’u was a military hero in third-century AD China. He spent his life fighting battles in order to establish his compatriot Ryūbi as rightful ruler in the Shu Province after the fall of the Han dynasty in AD 220. Kan’u lived to see Ryūbi become the Emperor Xuande, but was later executed by an opposing faction.
Kan’u was deified as the god of war, not only for his military deeds but also for his unswerving loyalty. He was then incorporated into the Daoist pantheon.
Kan’u is also depicted on the netsuke EA2001.45.
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Glossary of terms
The netsuke is a form of toggle that was used to secure personal items suspended on cords from the kimono sash. These items included purses, medicine cases or tobacco paraphernalia.
Seaman, Joyce, Manjū: Netsuke from the Collection of the Ashmolean Museum (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 2013), illus. p. 31 fig. 25