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Inro

Inro

  • Place of origin:

    Japan (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1800-1845 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Hara Yoyusai, born 1772 - died 1845 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Gold, brown and silver hiramakie and takamakie lacquer

  • Credit Line:

    Pfungst Gift

  • Museum number:

    W.121:1-1922

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The inro is a container made up of tiers. Japanese men used them because the traditional Japanese garment, the kimono, had no pockets. From the late 1500s onwards, Japanese men wore the inro suspended from their sash by a silk cord and a netsuke (toggle). They originally used it to hold their seal and ink or a supply of medicines. However, it rapidly became a costly fashion accessory of little or no practical use. Most inro are rectangular with gently curving sides.
Lacquer was most commonly used in the manufacture of inro since it was highly suitable for storing medicines. Lacquer is the sap from the tree Rhus verniciflua that grows mainly in East Asia. After processing, it is applied in many thin layers to a base material. The craft of lacquering, as well as making inro bodies, is highly complex, time-consuming and expensive. This example is decorated with deer among flowering cherry trees by a waterfall in gold and silver hiramakie (literally flat-sprinkled picture) and takamakie (literally high-sprinkled picture) lacquer.
From the 1700s onwards, many artists signed the inro they made. This example is signed Hara Yoyusai (1772 - 1845).

Place of Origin

Japan (made)

Date

ca. 1800-1845 (made)

Artist/maker

Hara Yoyusai, born 1772 - died 1845 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Gold, brown and silver hiramakie and takamakie lacquer

Dimensions

Height: 9.4 cm, Width: 4.8 cm, Depth: 3.2 cm

Descriptive line

Inro depicting deer among cherry trees by a waterfall in gold, brown and silver hiramakie and takamakie lacquer, by Hara Yoyusai, ca. 1800 - 1845

Materials

Lacquer

Subjects depicted

Deer; Waterfall; Landscape

Categories

Accessories; Containers; Lacquerware

Collection

East Asia Collection

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