VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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Inro
Inv. no. 1304
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

The inro is signed in red lacquer by “Shiomi Masanari”, the name of a distinguished family of lacquerers founded by Masanari (1647-c.1722) in Kyoto. By 1725, this family moved to Edo and successive generations used the same name as the founder Shiomi Masanari. They became renowned for their togidashie lacquer work of extremely high quality combined with the skillful depiction of animals.

History of the Object
This inro of three cases is decorated with a continuous design of a monkey and rocks in black, gold, red, and silver togidashie on a gold fundame ground. The interior of black lacquer has remnants of ink or seal paste in the bottom compartment, which means that it was formerly used to hold the owners’ seal or stamp pad.

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Type
Costume and Jewelry 
Materials
Lacquer, gold powder (fundame) 
Measurements
Width 5.5 cm Height 7 cm Length 2 cm  
Creator name
Shiomi Masanari family 
Creator date
Late eighteenth-nineteenth century 
Where it was made
Japan; Edo 
Geography
Japan 
Time period
AD 18th century ~ AD 19th century 
Creation date
18th Century -19th Century; Late eighteenth-nineteenth century 
Function
Originally the inro, suspended from the sash only used by men, was designed to hold the individual’s seal and stamp pad or a supply of medicine. Later it became a fashion accessory until late 19th century. 
Acquisition
Acquired by Calouste Gulbenkian through Gudénian at the Sir Trevor Lawrence Sale, held at Christie’s, London in 4th July 1916 
Copyright
 
Acknowledgements
 
Owner
Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation 
Museum
Calouste Gulbenkian Museum 
Credit line
Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation /Calouste Gulbenkian Museum 

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