A pair of Japanese lacquer four-case inros, late 17th/mid 18th Century.

These inros, or small multi-compartmented containers, are an example of items traditionally made for domestic use, but which were later found on the export market.

Domestically, they would have hung from the obi, or sash, of a kimono and would have contained cosmetics, perfumes or medicines, fulfilling a practical, rather than a purely ornamental role.

They are decorated with pavilions in landscapes, and motifs of a pine tree, a bridge and a flight of geese in flat makie with gold, silver and aokin on a fine pear skin ground.

The inscription in ink inside the lid of each piece is thought to have been a price code set by the Japanese vendor, 6.7cm by 5.1cm by 1.9cm.

The 1835 Burghley Inventory records: ‘Japan Closet, Japan in the Glass case opposite the door(s), sic, Black & Gold Japan 2 Etui Cases.’

The 1867 Burghley Inventory records: ‘Cabinets, No 88 Japan Closet, 2 black and gold japan etui cases.’

REFERENCE: JWA09022 & JWA09023

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