Original Japanese Inro Makie: tradition and miniature art

Published by Supein Nihonto on

Inro Makie Shibayama Lady

Japanese Inro Makie are true masterpieces that encapsulate the rich history and artistic tradition of Japan. These small boxes, originally used to carry seals, medicines, and other personal items, have become symbols of Japanese craftsmanship and culture. On our website, we proudly offer an exclusive selection of Inro Makie, each one original and authentic, for those who appreciate the beauty and history behind these unique objects.

Origins and evolution of Inro

Inro (印籠) originated during the Sengoku period (1467-1603) and reached their peak during the Edo period (1603-1868). Originally, the Japanese carried their personal items in the sleeves of their kimonos. However, as kimonos became more stylized and the sleeves lost space, an external container became necessary. Thus, the Inro was born, carried hanging from the obi (belt) of the kimono.

Inro are composed of several sections (usually between three and five) that fit perfectly together. These sections are held together by a cord that passes through them and is secured with an ojime (sliding bead) and a netsuke (carving made of wood or ivory) at the end.

Inro makie birds and pum

The art of Makie

What truly distinguishes Inro is the decorative technique known as Makie (蒔絵). This technique involves the application of gold or silver powder onto wet lacquer to create intricate and brilliant designs. The process is meticulous and requires extraordinary skill, as artisans apply multiple layers of lacquer, each polished and decorated with great care.

Makie is not just a decorative technique but an art form that has been perfected over centuries. Common themes in Makie designs include natural landscapes, flowers, animals, and mythological scenes, each with deep symbolism in Japanese culture. The precision and detail in these designs reflect the artisans’ mastery and the rich artistic tradition of Japan.

Inro makie Monkey and boar

Cultural significance

Inro were not just practical objects; they were also symbols of status and aesthetic taste. Samurai, merchants, and members of the elite used them to display their wealth and sophistication. Each Inro was a statement of the individuality and prestige of its wearer, and the designs were often commissioned from the best artisans of the time.

Additionally, Inro became collectible items and cherished gifts. Today, these boxes are valued not only for their beauty and craftsmanship but also for their historical and cultural significance. They are tangible testimonies of Japanese history and tradition, preserving artistic techniques passed down through generations.

Our exclusive collection

On our website, we have assembled an exquisite collection of Inro Makie, each selected for its authenticity and quality. We are dedicated to offering only original pieces, ensuring that every Inro in our collection is a true work of art. We work with experts in Japanese antiquities to ensure the authenticity and provenance of each piece, providing our customers with complete confidence in their purchase.

Our collection includes Inro from various periods and styles, from classic designs with landscapes and flowers to more modern pieces with innovative motifs. Each Inro tells a unique story, reflecting the era and vision of the artisan who created it. Additionally, we provide detailed descriptions and high-quality photographs so you can appreciate every detail of these magnificent pieces.

Inro Makie Chrisantemum flowers

Why choose us

When you purchase an Inro Makie from our website, you are not just acquiring a beautiful object but also a piece of history. We take pride in our dedication to authenticity and quality, ensuring that each customer receives a piece that not only meets the highest standards but is also an investment in art and culture. Additionally, we offer exceptional customer service, assisting our clients at every step of the purchasing process and providing detailed information on the care and preservation of these delicate works of art.

Categories: Inro Makie