Freephone 0800 4580672
Kaizen Bonsai Articles Galleries and Blog

Gold Lacquer Japanese Inro

£555.00

Quick Overview

Japanese lacquer inro are such incredibly beautiful works of art, particularly, pieces from the 18th and early 19th century. Many of them to rate very highly, amongst the finest treasures of Japan.


This Inro is from the late Edo period (1603-1868). The cord is not original and there is a small chip the the bottom edge along the brown painted image and could be repaired with care. This inro shows signs of use but is still in beautiful condition considering it's age.
Includes a glass gold leaf Ojime bead and signed carved ivory netsuke of a puppy on a blanket.

Gold Lacquer Japanese Inro

More Views

  • Gold Lacquer Japanese Inro
  • Gold Lacquer Japanese Inro
  • Gold Lacquer Japanese Inro
  • Gold Lacquer Japanese Inro
  • Gold Lacquer Japanese Inro
  • Gold Lacquer Japanese Inro

Details

With the introduction of the kimono, the 'Inro' became one of the most important and essential fashion accessories used to carry on ones person such items as ink seals and medicines. The Kimono had no pockets so the inro was a clever container, consisting of a number of interlocking small separate sections, all held together on a silk cord and worn hanging from the sash tied at the waist. Soon it evolved from a purely functional item to one of very high fashion, and the designs and decoration gradually became richer, finer and even more lavish.

Antique lacquer, Japanese inro, was always highly valued for its lasting qualities and strength. A very high gloss could be achieved, proving impervious to alcohol, acids and hot liquids. It would also have appealed to the Zen Buddhism ideals of ‘Yin and Yang’, as lacquer appears to be so delicately beautiful and light in weight. Yet, it is hard, impermeable and enduring.
However great care still needs to be taken when handling antique Japanese lacquer inro (especially when complete with ojime and a netsuke, or manju) as the inro can so easily be damaged by knocks. The most common cause of damage occurs when an inro is first picked up. If the netsuke, or manju, is allowed to swing and bump into the inro, the lacquer will certainly dent and worse still might chip. The best and correct way to pick up an inro, is to firstly pick up the netsuke, or manju, then to hold and use the silk cord to turn the inro around to look at the other side when inspecting Inro, rather than to finger the lacquer, as there is something in our perspiration that dulls the shine in time. As an alternative some people only handle lacquer whilst wearing very soft gloves.
All lacquer is best kept in a reasonably humid atmosphere, avoiding any sudden changes of temperature. In some climates this is difficult to arrange, without having good air conditioning. It is also a good idea to keep a bowl, or two, of water where ever the Japanese inro are stored, but even more important to avoid the use of any spot lights within close proximity. Antique Japanese lacquer Inro are such incredibly beautiful works of art, that it is well worth while taking good care of them.

Several craftsmen were involved in the making of an inro. First the very thin wood base would have been painstakingly made, with carefully selected wood, where all the knots had to be avoided.

It would then have been handed to the next craftsman, a specialist at applying the numerous base layers of lacquer. Each layer would be extremely thin, and gradually finer and finer quality lacquer was used, at least 30 layers were applied, so that no trace of the wood inside could any longer be visible. Only at this stage would the lacquer artist responsible to design and create the many layers of decoration begin.

Additional Information

SKU AC0012