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What is an inro

January 19, 2021

What is an inro

In essence its a purse, normally made of lacquered wood in often 4 to 6 sections, that are hollowed out with lip or phalange to keep contents secure and held together by a draw string.

These hung from Japanese gentleman's belts, of course a little bit like a watch today, gave an opportunity to show off their status and the quality of the workmanship on the inro.

These nearly always were lacquered in fine golds and silver, with the finest and most tiny detail.

Like so many things in Japanese's society giving way to ancient trades, making and carving the inros then decorating them and skilled carvers making ojime and netsuke for the drawer strings. 

Sometimes inro came covered in shagreen / rays skin giving a green leather affect, giving a chance to add samurai swords decoration such as minouki, again made in brass bronze gold and silver very finely detailed decorative plaques often of clouds gods dragons etc that were until 1876 when samurais were banned from carrying samurai swords only attached to Tsubas or sword grips. 

So minouki were then made into jewellery and decorations to be applied to other things, I think possibly even clothes sometimes, certainly i have seen them sown onto silk hand bags. 

All the best one were proudly signed by there makers.

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