Tiny and tactile the netsuke are "small, tough explosions of exactitude." Their story spans cultures and continents. They were originally the possessions (the collection) of the Ephrussis, wealthy Jewish grain traders who spread from Russia to the important, wealthy capitals of Europe - their empire finally being destroyed by the Nazis.
These objects tell a fascinating story about the way the world has been molded by the need for commodities and trade, greed, war and jealousy.
The cliché 'we can learn from history' is in many cases nonsense - we continue to make the same mistakes over and over again. We do however have to ride that fast learning curve to create new products and have new ideas. Business is not a static immovable object it has to evolve. We have to morph into different markets, pushing our ideas onto the next phase - this is what artists do. Boundaries have to be broken and new frontiers challenged or we simply have to do it better than our rivals. We simply have to be creative.