Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Seattle Art Museum (SAM)

Inro decorated with a ferry scene, and ojime

Photo: Elizabeth Mann

Inro decorated with a ferry scene, and ojime

ca. 1800


Japanese, active late 18th - early 19th century

Inro are containers for small personal items such as seals and herbal medicines. Japanese men of the Edo period (1603–1868) wore them hanging on the obi (sash) of their kimono. The small bead called ojime tightens the inro’s cord. Netsuke, intricately carved toggles, were attached at the end of the cord to prevent the inro from slipping through the obi. By the eighteenth century, both inro and netsuke had become more elaborate and decorative and were commissioned by merchants, samurai, and others who could afford them.
Lacquer, gold, and silver
3 x 3 7/16 x 9/16 in. (7.6 x 8.7 x 1.4 cm)
Gift of the Robert B. and Honey Dootson Collection
Photo: Elizabeth Mann
Now on view at the Asian Art Museum


Exhibition HistorySeattle, Washington, Seattle Asian Art Museum, Legends, Tales, Poetry: Visual Narrative in Japanese Art, December 22, 2012 - July 21, 2013

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, "A Thousand Years of Beauty: Japanese Art in Seattle", July 16, 2001 - November 17, 2002

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, "Rabbit, Cat and Horse; Endearing Creatures in Japanese Art", December 21, 2002 - March 16, 2003
Published ReferencesKnight, Michael, "East Asian Lacquers in the Collection of the Seattle Art Museum." Seattle, WA: Seattle Art Museum, 1992, no. 19, pp. 25-27

Seattle Art Museum acknowledges that we are on the traditional homelands of the Duwamish and the customary territories of the Suquamish and Muckleshoot Peoples. As a cultural and educational institution, we honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future. We also acknowledge the urban Native peoples from many Nations who call Seattle their home.

Learn more about Equity at SAM