Japan, 17th century, Edo period (1615-1868)
The large, bulky inro bearing a roiro ground, finely lacquered to both sides in rubbed gold and red hiramaki-e with highlights of kirigane, raden (shell inlays), and nashiji, to depict a seated Hotei raising a tama (flaming pearl) high and sitting before an iridescent flame issuing from a censer. The reverse similarly decorated with Daruma (Bodhidharma) holding a hossu (Buddhist fly whisk) symbolizing the sweeping away of mental distractions and ignorance. The interior compartments lacquered in gold. With a finely carved bone ojime.
HEIGHT 7.6 cm, LENGTH 7.2 cm
Condition: Very good condition with minor typical rubbing to lacquer and expected losses to shell and kirigane inlays.
Provenance: Galerie Souquet, Paris, October 17, 1966. Collection of Robert and Isabelle de Strycker, acquired from the above. Robert de Strycker (1903-1968) was a French engineer who specialized in metallurgy. He was a Stanford graduate, a professor at the University of Leuven, a director of the Institute of Metallurgy at the Université Catholique de Louvain, and one of the most influential members of the faculty of applied sciences. After World War II, he made large contributions to France’s post-war recovery. Robert and his wife Isabelle (1915-2010) first encountered Chinese art at the British Museum during a stay in London in the 1930s. Enamored with the style and beauty, they both decided to study and collect Chinese works of art. In 1938 they eventually began to build their collection, buying from Belgian, Parisian, and English dealers. They kept close contact with the famous English collector Sir Harry Garner (1891-1977) and noted Czech collector and expert Fritz Low-Beer (1906-1976). In 1964, the couple lent 174 objects from their collection to the Belgian city of Leuven’s museum for an exhibition titled Oude kunst in Leuvens Privébezit (‘Old Art in Private Collections in Leuven’), and in 1967 they lent around thirty Japanese objects to the Royal Museums of Art and History in Brussels for their exhibition Kunst van Japan im belgischen Privatverzameingen (‘Japanese Art in Belgian Private Collections’).
For a related example depicting Chinese figures sitting by a waterfall see Sydney L. Moss Ltd. (2014) Lac Lacquer Lacquest, pp. 54-55.
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