Inro Makie shibayama dragon





An Inlaid and Gold-Lacquer Four-Case Inro. Meiji era (1868-1912). The lenticular kinji ground decorated in gold and slight-coloured takamaki-e, gold hiramaki-ekirikane, and Shibayama style with Kosekiko (Chinese: Huangshigong) kneeling on rocks and holding up a fallen shoe towards Choryo (Zhang Liang) shown on the other side, crossing a bridge on horseback and holding a rolled scroll. The dragon that saved Choryo from a river looking up at him from the waves, signed on the base in gold lacquer Shokasai and Shibayama within a shell-inlaid rectangular reserve; with a circular lacquered and inlaid metal ojime and a gold-lacquer two-part domed circular netsuke embellished with a meandering, flowering plum branch. Museum masterpiece.

8 x 6 cm

What is an Inro?

An inro is a traditional Japanese case for holding small objects, suspended from the obi (sash) worn around the waist when wearing a kimono. They are often highly decorated with various materials such as lacquer and various techniques such as maki-e, and are more decorative than other Japanese lacquerware.

Because traditional Japanese dress lacked pockets, objects were often carried by hanging them from the obi in containers known as sagemono (a hanging object attached to a sash). Most sagemono were created for specialized contents, such as tobacco, pipes, writing brush and ink, but the type known as inro is suitable for carrying small things, and was created in the Sengoku period (1467–1615) as a portable identity seal and medicine container for travel.