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Nomura Chohei

Three-case Seal Caddy (inrō), Cord Toggle (netsuke) and Decorative Bead (ōjime)


Nomura Chohei
Active in Edo (now Tokyo), after about 1767


Three-case Seal Caddy (inrō), Cord Toggle (netsuke) and Decorative Bead (ōjime)


About 1775-1800


Maki-e lacquer on wood, mother-of-pearl, sharkskin glass, silk, amber


7.9 x 8 x 3 cm


Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Neil B. Ivory, inv. 1983.Ee.5


Archeology and World Cultures

An inrō is a small multi-tiered case held together by a cord strung through it. It was initially worn by gentlemen in the 16th century to hold medicine or seals and ink. It was tied to the sash of the outer garment with a sliding bead (ōjime) and a carved toggle (netsuke). During the Edo period (1615-1868), finely crafted inrō became a symbol of one’s wealth and cultivation. Many of these pieces are exquisitely designed. Here, the fishing motif extends to the matching netsuke which is carved in the shape of a fish basket.

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