Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Inro, ojime

Inro, ojime

  • Place of origin:

    Japan (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1800-1875 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Tachibana Gyokuzan (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Red, gold and black lacquer

  • Credit Line:

    Pfungst Gift

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Japan, Room 45, The Toshiba Gallery, case 8 []

The inro is a tiered container used by men only since the traditional Japanese garment, the kimono, had no pockets. From the late sixteenth century onwards, inro were worn suspended from the sash by a silk cord and netsuke (toggle). Although it was originally designed to hold the individual's seal and ink or a supply of medicines, the inro rapidly became a costly fashion accessory with little or no practical function.
From the mid-eighteenth century onwards, craftsmen increasingly sought interesting and inventive ways to exploit the small and limited size of the inro. One method of achieving this was by continuing a design from one side over to another. On this inro, the body of the crayfish is shown on the main side, while its antennae extend over the top and side, thus cleverly drawing the viewer's eye round.

Place of Origin

Japan (made)


ca. 1800-1875 (made)


Tachibana Gyokuzan (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Red, gold and black lacquer

Marks and inscriptions

artist's name
1) Signature; Japanese; Chinese characters; on base


Height: 7.4 cm, Width: 7.6 cm, Depth: 3.1 cm

Descriptive line

Inro, red and black takamakie (high sprinkled picture) lacquer on a gold lacquer ground, crayfish, ca.1800-75



Subjects depicted



Lacquerware; Accessories; Containers


East Asia Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.