Tobacco container, ojime (bead) and netsuke (toggle) - ROM2005_3683_1


Tobacco container, ojime (bead) and netsuke (toggle)

Medium:Bamboo, lacquered and gilded in maki-e and kirigane techniques, with brass ojime
Geography: Japan
Date: 19th to mid 20th century AD
Period: Edo-Meiji periods
3.7 x 5.9 x 6.2 cm
Object number: 958.27
Credit Line: Gift of Mr. Edgar J. Stone in memory of his father
Not on view
DescriptionDecorative art in miniature format attained an unrivalled level of sophistication in Japan. Inro and netsuke are the best known examples of this diminutive art, and have become popular collectors' items in the West. Originally used to carry powdered medicine, inrô are small, tiered containers made mainly of lacquered wood and bound together by a cord. Men wore the inrô as an accessory suspended by a cord from the sash of a kimono, the traditional Japanese robe. A netsuke, an intricate miniature sculpture, was attached at the top end of the cord to prevent the inrô from slipping. Netsuke, carved from materials such as wood, ivory, amber, bone, and stag antler, display an endless variety of subject matter and often a delightful sense of humour. The box here is a natural bamboo segment, covered with transparent lacquer and decorated in gold, silver, brown and radk green hiramakie and takamakie with a sparrow looking out from ite nest inside the trunk of a bamboo stem. The ojime is a carved brass ball and the netsuke is lacquered bamboo in the form of a bivalve shell, with a design of sea shells and water plants in gold and silver makie. A greyish-purple braided silk cord links the group.
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