Antique Japanese Wooden Inro Box with Quail

Japanese (Japan, 19th Century)

Antique Japanese Wooden Inro Box with Quail
2554 Lincoln Blvd # 696
Venice, CA, 90291
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Antique Japanese Wooden Inro Box with Quail


This little circular box is an antique Japanese Inro box, a traditional hanging box worn from a sash to carry small items. Because traditional Japanese garb lacked pockets, objects were often carried by hanging them from a sash. Typically these little containers carried things such as tobacco, or brush and ink, or maybe medicine or an identity card. This wooden Inro is decorated with two exquisitely carved quail, each with lovely mother of pearl eyes. Their feet are carved out of hard stone with meticulous detail. The overall textures of this box, the inlay work, the high relief and the representational landscape are quite remarkable. Even the mother of pearl slender bamboo leaves retain their line work like the rest of the carved foliage. Some little pieces have been re-glued, but this is not visible to the eye; for its age this Inro box is in great condition. The artist who made this box has also signed it to the lower left, indicating that it was a singular work of art by a notable artist in Japan, circa 1880. The box and lid is held together by a cord that is laced through cord runners down one side, under the bottom, and up the opposite side. The ends of the cord are secured to a netsuke, a kind of toggle bead that is passed between the sash and pants and then hooked over the top of the sash to suspend the Inro. Even the base of the box has a line carved out to place the thread so that is lines up securely with its bottom, keeping it steady when placed on a surface. The carving on this wood is spectacular because the artist has gone in to add detail wood grain to the box, creating a hyper realism that truly stands out. The lid secures well to its base, with the thread it remains permanently attached. The thread and ivory bead are in great condition; this little Inro box can be used to carry personal items or to keep something safe. It comes with a little dyed wooden base or pedestal approximately 4 x 3 inches, which is a nice way to exhibit this piece of artwork in the home. Makes a wonderful addition to a box collection.

WIDTH: in | HEIGHT: 3 in | DEPTH: 2 in

Origin Japan
Category Antiquities
Period 19th Century
Style Unspecified

Shipping Estimate: $30 | FedEx

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THB REF: 1237402864