Japanese Spotted Bamboo Tobacco Inro

c. 1850
$468 USD
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W: 8.25" D: 4.25" H: 1.75"
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Because traditional Japanese kimono didn't include pockets, men and women carried their belongings in small compartments known as inro. Hung from the obi sash belted around the waist and secured by carved netsuke beads, inro were worn as fashionable accessories and often crafted of fine materials.

Paired with a cylindrical case that once held a thin smoking pipe (kiseru), this 19th-century inro was likely used for storing shredded tobacco. Both components are carved from spotted bamboo, a beautifully patterned natural material often used for making calligraphy brush handles. The barrel-shaped inro is capped with a removable rosewood lid and secured to the kiseru case with a contemporary cord.

Due to a century of use, the inro has a cosmetic split and the kiseru case lid no longer secures to the case.

Deaccessioned from the MacLean Collection of Asian Art.

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