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Koma Koryū

Four-case Seal Caddy (inrō), Cord Toggle (netsuke) and Decorative Bead (ojime)


Koma Koryū
Active in Edo (now Tokyo), about 1772-1788


Four-case Seal Caddy (inrō), Cord Toggle (netsuke) and Decorative Bead (ojime)


Late 18th c.


Maki-e lacquer on wood, ebony with mother-of-pearl inlay, carnelian


39 x 6.7 x 2 cm


Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Neil B. Ivory, inv. 1983.Ee.3


Archeology and World Cultures

This inrō was probably made and decorated by Koma Koryū, a member of the Koma family of lacquer masters known for his exquisite style during the eighteenth century. It is decorated with a maki-e lacquer technique called togidashi, which consists in polishing down layers of lacquer in order to reveal a design flush with the ground. Here, gold powder was used with tones of black to create different shades, simulating the effects of ink painting. The choice of subject matter – a mountainous landscape with birds of prey flocking in and around a tree as a few lone herons forage along a waterfall – and the flawless execution followed the literati aesthetic of the warrior class in the Edo period.

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