Netsuke were invented out of the necessity of preventing items that were hung on the person and carried, such as inro (a pillbox), yatate (a portable writing set), cigarette cases and pouches from being lost or stolen. People would hang items from their obi (sash) with a string and attach a netsuke to the other end of the string as a fastener. Materials such as animal bones, including ivory and bull horns, ceramic and metals were used to make netsuke and they were finely sculptured by Japanese craftspersons.