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Inro Ensemble

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Japan Anonymous, Japanese
Inro Ensemble, 19th c.
3 in. x 1 3/4 in. x 1 in. (7.62 cm x 4.45 cm x 2.54 cm)

Object Type: Decorative Arts
Technique: Lacquered
Creation Place: Asia, Japan
Credit Line: Gift of Mr. Edward Nagel
Accession Number: 71.1.415

Inro: 3” x 1.75” x 1” Ojime: 0.6” x 0.6” x 0.6” Netsuke: 2” x 1. 5” x 0.75”

No marks.

Carved and lacquered wood, metal ojime.

Object Description
Six-tiered inro piece with crane and other bird imagery, engraved metal ojime with leaf imagery and seated craftsman wooden netsuke with rat seated on back. Brown cord.
The crane symbolizes longevity, and was thought not only to be long-lived but also to be the bearer of dead souls and immortals into other worlds. (Goodall, 255) A grouping of cranes such as those on this inro signified a multiplied desire for longevity. Rats, being the first animal in the Chinese zodiac represent the eleventh month, the hours between 11 pm and 1 am, and the direction north. (Goodall, 219) Being born in the year of the rat gave an individual connotations of industriousness but also restlessness, characteristics illustrated by the accompanying craftsman figure depicted as displeased in the act of hard labor.

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