VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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Inro "Bindweed and bird"
RKM 133-1906
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

It is an extremely elegant example from the period and should therefore be seen as a masterpiece in the museum’s collection of Japanese handicraft. Per Dahlström, Curator, Röhsska Museum

History of the Object
Before western clothing became fashionable, the Japanese wore the kimono. Because the kimono lacked pockets, necessities such as purses and smoking materials were often hung from a cord around the kimono’s sash. A small, lacquered wooden storage box called an inro was also traditionally hung from the sash. It was an accessory for men and used for carrying such things as medicaments and aromatic herbs. It became immensely popular and was the exception to the strict rule against ostentation that otherwise governed the garment’s design. The production of inros was a handicraft carried out in highly-specialized workshops where master lacquerers experimented with new designs, decorations and materials. The handicraft had its heyday during the Tokugawa period, during which this inro was produced. Demand for inros declined after the middle of the nineteenth century, not least because of the introduction of western fashion.

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Type
Decorative Art 
Materials
Wood, mother-of-pearl and gold inlays 
Measurements
6.4 x 8.4 cm 
Creator name
Kuanshosai 
Creator date
Unknown 
Where it was made
Japan 
Geography
Japan 
Time period
AD 19th century ~ AD 19th century 
Creation date
19th Century; ca 1800 
Function
Box/purse 
Acquisition
Purchased as part of Fredrik Martin’s collection, 1905. 
Copyright
The Röhsska Museum 
Acknowledgements
 
Owner
The Röhsska Museum 
Museum
The Röhsska Museum, of Design, Fashion and Decorative Arts 
Credit line
 

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