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Seattle Art Museum (SAM)

Inro decorated with tanuki and crab, and ojime

Photo: Elizabeth Mann

Inro decorated with tanuki and crab, and ojime

late 19th century

Shibata Zeshin

Japanese, 1807 - 1891

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 and gold
3 3/4 x 2 3/4 x 1 1/16in.
Gift of the Robert B. and Honey Dootson Collection
Photo: Elizabeth Mann
Now on view at the Asian Art Museum


Exhibition HistorySeattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, Going For Gold, November 3, 2012 - December 8, 2013

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, "Rabbit, Cat and Horse; Endearing Creatures in Japanese Art", December 21, 2002 - March 16, 2003

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