Japan, c. 1800, Edo period (1615-1868)
Of upright rectangular form and oval section, the inro formed from clear-lacquered cherry-bark, stitched at both edges. The design featuring sprigs of cherry-blossoms with buds and blooms in gold and silver takamaki-e on one side, the other similarly lacquered with cherry stems and leaves. The top, base, and interior rims lacquered in gold fundame. With a carved wood ojime decorated with reishi fungi and with gilt cord holes.
HEIGHT 8.3 cm, LENGTH 4.8 cm
Condition: Good condition with typical losses and minimal wear. One chip to the edge of the bottom case.
Provenance: From the collection of Arend Louis Serné. Arend Louis Serné (1925-2021) was the fourth-generation owner of the firm A. Serné & Son, Costumiers, located on the Groenburgwal, Amsterdam, Netherlands, established in 1866. An avid piano player, he was also fond of modern literature, and a passionate collector of inro. He started his inro collection in the late 1970s. At that time, he entered the gallery Aalderink Oriental Art along the Spiegelgracht in Amsterdam and was immediately captivated by the beauty of inro. He began his collection with three simple specimens but hoped to own more. He remarked, “Oh that's nothing, a decent collection must be about a hundred pieces!” And collect he did. Arend was not concerned with the signature or the rarity, but with the intrinsic poetic beauty embodied in this very Japanese art form.
Japanese mountain cherry, Yamazakura, is a wild species which has a strong vitality and bark that regenerates after being carefully stripped. The collected bark is dried for more than three years before it is whittled and polished by hand, cut to the appropriate shape, and glued to the surface of a wooden base using nikawa animal glue. Other techniques entail carving pre-assembled layers of cherry bark into small shapes and polishing them for jewelry and other uses.
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