Inro (four-case medicine box), ojime, and netsuke of Hanshan?

Accession Number

Inro (four-case medicine box), ojime, and netsuke of Hanshan?


Artist Nationality
Japanese (culture or style)

Object Creation Date
19th century

Medium & Support
lacquer on wood with ivory ojime and netsuke

3 1/8 in. x 2 1/2 in. x 13/16 in. ( 7.9 cm x 6.3 cm x 2 cm )

Credit Line
Transfer from the College of Architecture and Design

Label copy
Gallery Rotations Fall 2012
Inrô with ojime and netsuke
Japan, Edo period (1615–1868)
19th century
Lacquer on wood with gold and silver maki-e, and ivory ojime
and netsuke
Transfer from the College of Architecture and Design, 1972/2.103
Inrô, small, stacked medicine boxes held together by a cord and secured by a bead, are the Japanese solution to a lack of pockets in a man’s kimono. The ojime is a bead that tightens the cords to hold the parts of the inrô together. The cord is tucked under the obi or sash, and held in place by a netsuke (literally, a “root”) at the other end. As personal fashion accessories for men, inrô and netsuke can be quite elaborate. In this example, the inrô is decorated in dazzling gold and other metallic pigments with hydrangea blossoms and lotus leaves, refreshing images for the heat of deep summer. The netsuke is a comical figure of a man, perhaps meant to be the Zen eccentric and Chinese poet Hanshan, holding up a long scroll of calligraphy.

Primary Object Classification
Decorative Arts

Primary Object Type

Additional Object Classification(s)
Decorative Arts

Collection Area

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boxes (containers)
foliage (motif)

3 Related Resources

Japan Pax Tokugawa 1600-1868
(Part of: Empires and Colonialism)
Medicine in 19th-Century Japan
(Part of: Health, Illness, Medicine)
Medicines and Remedies
(Part of: History of Medicine - American Association of Historians of Medicine (AAHM))

& Author Notes

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