Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Japanese inro, ojime and netsuke

The inro was attached to the waist via a cord. On this cord was a bead (an ojime) and a carved figure (a netsuke) that were used as fasteners. This box is decorated with a lobster design.

On the picture below is a superb example and was bought in a charity shop a year ago for 50p. The value is about £3,000-£5,000.

In the 19th Century, Japanese people used to carry small objects, such as seals and medicines, in a small lacquered box known as an inro.

Inro ('seal-basket’) are small decorative containers that hang from the waist. They originated at the end of the sixteenth century and were worn by men to hold seals and herbal and other medicines. They were considered a particularly good way of keeping the contents sealed and fresh. By the eighteenth century they had become decorative accessories and were commissioned by the merchant class, provincial rulers and their samurai, and those that could afford them.
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