Very rare Japanese inro 印籠, Inrō, lit “stamp case” mother of pearl inlay made around 1735


A rare Japanese inro made around 1735 (印籠, Inrō, lit. “stamp case”) is a traditional Japanese case for holding small items, suspended from the obi (sash) worn around the waist when wearing a kimono. They are often highly decorated with different materials such as lacquer and different techniques such as maki-e, and are more decorative than other Japanese lacquerware. Because traditional Japanese clothing had no pockets, items were often carried by hanging them from the obi in containers known as sagemono (a hanging object attached to a sash). Most sage mono were made for specialized content, such as tobacco, pipes, writing brush and ink, but the type known as inro is suitable for carrying small things and was made in the Sengoku period (1467-1615) as a portable identity stamp and medicine container for travel. In the middle of the Edo period (1603-1868) inro became popular as men’s accessories and wealthy merchants of the Chōnin and samurai classes often collected inro beautifully decorated with lacquer. As the technique developed from the late Edo period to the Meiji period (1868-1912) and the artistic value of inro increased, inro was no longer used as an accessory and was considered an art object for collection. The term inro is a combination of the kanji for in (印), meaning a seal or stamp, and the kanji for rō (籠), meaning a basket. Size / Width 5cm×Length 8cm×Depth 2.5cm Box: Width 18.5 cm×Length 6 cm×depth 7.5 cm Condition / There are light scratches, take a good look at the photos.

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