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Updated: 21 Jul 2024


Traditional Japanese case
-antique Inro (IR-19)



Vertical Horizontal Weight Layers
8.5 cm 6.0 cm 106 g 5

You can enlarge all the photos to see the detail of the item.


SKU: IR-19 Categories: , ,

 This Inro has a gorgeous appearance. The Makie (蒔絵) technique is used for making its ornamental look. 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 a gorgeous and elegant look to works, as you see in this Inro case. There are five hidden compartments, as you can see from the photos.

 Dragons are designed on both sides. The figure of the dragons flying between the clouds in the sky and the rough waves gives us the impression; they are the rulers of the sky and the sea. In Japan, a belief worships the dragon as a water god, and also, some people have believed that dragons dwell in clouds. Based on these ideas, it is understandable that the combination of dragons and waves or clouds was incorporated into designs.

 Initially, the dragon is an imaginary creature found in ancient traditions or myths. Furthermore, it is regarded as a symbolic beast of auspicious signs. Its body is likened to nine animals: antlers are deer, the head is a camel, eyes are demons, the neck is a snake, belly is the Mizuchi (蛟, mythical animal in Japan which looks like a snake and have a horn and four legs), scales are fish, claws are falcons, palms are tigers, and ears are cows. It was thought that the dragon would reign at the top of all animals because of its odd-looking appearance. We imagine lots of Japanese people cherished this dignified beast motif.

 The motif of the Netsuke (根付, miniature sculpture, fastener) is a Kaeru (蛙, frog). In Japanese, several expressions have the same pronunciation as “Kaeru.” For example; Fuku-Kaeru (福かえる, happiness will return), Okane-Kaeru (お金かえる, the money will come back), or Buji-Kaeru (無事かえる, someone will come back safely), etcetera. Based on these wordplays, the frog pattern has been treated as an auspicious motif. The third example: “Buji-Kaeru,” would match Samurai’s wish to come back from battlefields. 

 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.

【About us】
 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.

【Payment method】
 We accept payment through Stripe (Credit card), PayPal, Apple Pay or ChromePay, all of which are secure payment methods. Also, you don’t need to make an account on Stripe for the checkout. If you prefer other payment method, please contact us. You may either pay in JPY, USD, AUD, CAD, EUR, CHF or GBP. The price is set in Japanese Yen. Prices in other currencies are automatically calculated based on the latest exchange rate. 

【Shipping duration】
 We normally ship via EMS (Express Mail Service) provided by Japan Post. It usually takes at least 5-14 days to deliver the package after you place an order. We will use DHL instead for those who ordered from Canada or Australia as EMS temporarily stops shipping to these countries due to COVID-19. We offer Free International Shipping as long as we can ship your order by either EMS or DHL (Australia, Canada only). If you prefer other shipping carriers, please contact us.  

 We will inform you of the order’s tracking number via email. Please make sure you fill out your valid email address correctly. 

*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.


 Would you like see some more Antique items for sale? Please check the link below. We hope you can find your favorite item.


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