It has a flat rectangular shape and is divided into three layers. A string was passed to both sides of each step, fastened with netting to prevent falls. Furthermore, the string was sandwiched between bands.
This Inro’s gorgeous appearance was made by the Makie (蒔絵) technique. The Makie is a typical Japanese lacquer art technique developed uniquely in Japan for about 1200 years. Firstly, it needs to draw a picture with lacquer on the surface with a thin brush. Next, sprinkle the gold powder from above to show the pattern before the lacquer hardens. This technique makes an ornamental and elegant look to works, as seen in this Inro case. Several flowers are beautifully designed, and these motifs also add decorativeness to this work.
The motif of the Netsuke (根付, miniature sculpture, fastener) is probably an elephant. Two elephants were brought to Japan from the continent in the Edo period, the 13th year of the Kyouho (享保) era (1728). They were gifts for then Tokugawa Shogun; Tokugawa Yoshimune (徳川 吉宗, 1684-1751). Many ordinary people saw this animal during the journey from the elephant’s arrival to Edo city. And this giant animal became a trend among people. Initially, the Hakuzou (白象, white elephant) is sacred in Buddhism. It is known as a vehicle of the Fugen Bosatsu (普賢菩薩, Samantabhadra, a bodhisattva of rationale and mercy). A theory says Mayabunin (摩耶夫人, Mahāmāyā), who is the Buddha’s birth mother, saw a white elephant when she got pregnant Buddha. Also, the elephant has been regarded as a patient animal. Based on this history and religious idea, it is understandable that the elephant motif was incorporated into motifs for daily items.
We hope you enjoyed this description, and we wish this Inro would speak to you.
*As this item is an antique, please check each photo and ensure its condition.
What is Inro?
Inro is a small container for carrying medicine and tobacco leaves. In the Edo period, Samurai had a habit of carrying regular medicines in Inro, which were used daily and were popular as accessories that represent Edo crafts.
Samurai Museum is located in Tokyo, Japan, exhibiting antique artifacts related to the Samurai history. Samurai Museum Shop is the place for those who are interested in Japanese culture and craftsmanship. We deal with antique Samurai swords/armor, traditional crafts made in Japan and so on.
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*Please keep in mind that due to the spread of COVID-19, there might be possible delays in delivery. If you like to make sure if EMS shipping is available to your country, please contact us.
【How to make sure the condition】
Please keep in mind that what you are going to purchase is an antique item. We uploaded high resolution photos for you to check its condition thoroughly. If you like to see more photos with different angles, please feel free to contact us. We will be happy to send them to you so that you can make informed decision.
It is essential for us to know that you are happy with your choice of Inro and we are prepared to use the best of our ability to serve you.
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