A Japanese lacquer four-case inro, 18th Century.

An inro, a small multi-compartmented container for carrying medicines, perfumes or cosmetics, was usually suspended from a kimono obi, or sash.

This one is decorated with a scene of thatched houses in a rural landscape, in brown lacquer with silver raised and unpolished makie, fine gold powder and chased tin inlay.

it would originally have been intended for the domestic market, although it was subsequently exported, 7cm.

It is recorded that in the second half of the 17th Century, the Batavia office of the Dutch East Indies Company requested the Nagasaki trading factory to fill the drawers of exported large chests with small, light lacquer objects, such as this.

From the 18th Century onwards inro containers started to be specifically mentioned on Dutch cargo manifests.


Related collections