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Inro Ensemble with Katabori Netsuke

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Japan Anonymous, Japanese
Inro Ensemble with Katabori Netsuke, mid/late 19th c.
Lacquer on Wood
3 1/2 in. x 2 1/4 in. x 1 in. (8.89 cm x 5.72 cm x 2.54 cm)

Object Type: Decorative Arts
Technique: Lacquered
Creation Place: Asia, Japan
Credit Line: Gift of Mr. Edward Nagel
Accession Number: 71.1.407

Inro: 3.5” x 2.25” x 1” Ojime: 0.6” x 0.6” x 0.6” Netsuke: 1.25” x 1.25” x 1”

Netsuke signed "Tatsumin"

Lacquered wood and carved ivory.

Object Description
9-tiered gold lacquered inro with tree and floral imagery comprising a pastoral scene of autumn grasses. Geometric design on ojime, ivory katabori netsuke of Jurojin (Chinese name Shoulao) one of the Chinese 7 gods of immortality, depicted with small child on his shoulder. Mauve cord. Signature on lower right of box.

This inro ensemble is unique both in its large number of compartments and through the signature on the lower right side that augments the piece’s value. Jurojin, the figure comprising the ivory katabori netsuke, is one of the seven Chinese gods of immortality. Here he is depicted getting his head shaved by the accompanying figure of a child, so as to show his enlarged brain. The enlarged head as well as the bumps on his forehead are signifiers of wisdom, and are characteristic depictions of Jurojin who is the patron of learning.

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