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  • Place of origin:

    Japan (made)

  • Date:

    18th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Black and gold lacquer, with mother-of-pearl

  • Credit Line:

    Salting Bequest

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The inro is a tiered container that was traditionally worn by men only. The traditional Japanese garment, the kimono, had no pockets, so men first used the inro to carry daily necessities. From the late 1500s onwards, men wore it suspended from their sashes by a silk cord and netsuke (toggle). However it rapidly became a costly fashion accessory of little or no practical use. Most inro are rectangular, with gently curving sides. This one is more square in shape.
It is an example of the highly distinctive and influential Rinpa style. In lacquer work, this style had its origins in the work of Hon'ami Koetsu (1558-1637). Makers working in this style used relatively straightforward techniques of black and gold lacquer, with inlays of mother-of-pearl and lead. The decorative motifs were very basic, with little attention to detail. Although unsigned, this example is loosely in the style of Koetsu.

Place of Origin

Japan (made)


18th century (made)



Materials and Techniques

Black and gold lacquer, with mother-of-pearl


Height: 7.2 cm, Width: 6.3 cm, Depth: 2.2 cm

Descriptive line

Inro, black and gold lacquer with mother of pearl, camellia and bamboo, 18th century


Lacquer; Mother of pearl

Subjects depicted

Bamboo; Flower


Images Online; Accessories; Containers; Lacquerware


East Asia Collection

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