Late eighteenth century Edo Period single case Inro.


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Late eighteenth century Edo Period single case Inro.

Traditional Japanese dress contained no pockets. Inro, together with other forms of container were suspended from the waist and secured by the use of a netsuke. Together, these items are known as “sagemono”. Inro could have multiple levels, or cases and were used to carry seals, medicine and a variety of other items. This stunning Inro was produced at the end of the eighteenth century in Japan. It is of oval shape and graduated stepped form, decorated with a realistic crab in takamakie lacquer. The skills needed to achieve this should not be underestimated. Applying lacquer is a hugely complicated and time consuming process, doing so successfully to a carved, uneven surface even more so. This would suggest, that despite its seemingly simple form and construction, this Inro would have been an expensive item, even at the time of its production. The Inro has a plain black lacquer interior and is signed to the base Toju.

This remarkable eighteenth century wood and lacquer Inro is 7.5cm wide, 5cm high and 2cm deep. (Measurements approximate). It is supplied with its ojime seen on the images. It is in excellent condition, showing light wear appropriate to its age, substance and function. It has no damage and no restoration.