Five-case Inrō

19th century

Signed: “Kajikawa saku” and with a red pot seal

Height: 3 1/8in (7.9cm)


Michael Tomkinson Collection

Leonard Haber Collection


Michael Tomkinson, A Japanese Collection, London: George Allen, 1898, no. 300

Each case with slightly recessed joints and with different grounds, including kinji, nashiji, togidashi maki-e and gyobu-nashiji, on the obverse decorated with a treasure ship laden with the attributes of the Seven Gods of Good Fortune, the sail decorated with the character kotobuki (longevity), a minogame (bushy-tailed tortoise) swimming beside the ship, the reverse with a bonsai pine and a mandarin tree on a stand with cranes and minogame, all in iro-e takazogan and applied gold foil, the interiors nashiji.

The Chinese character Ju, or Kotobuki, signifies gratitude in receiving a long life, so the juxtaposition with the attributes of the Seven Gods of Good Fortune is a good omen for the inrō owner. The reverse also features auspicious symbols for longevity: pine tree, turtle and crane.

Michael Tomkinson (1841-1921) was among the first collectors of Japanese art in the West. In 1898 he published a two-volume catalogue of his works, which are now in museums and private collections around the world.

Inrō for sale


Price: 6,500 €

Inventory Nr: 1690

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