Japan, 18th-19th century, Edo period (1615-1868)
The wide-bodied three-case inro bearing a roiro ground with finely sprinkled silver and gold lacquer, decorated in superb togidashi-e with gold and silver takamaki-e and hiramaki-e, depicting a scene from the Kyogen play Tsurigitsune, the fox disguised as a priest, a hyotan (double gourd) tied to its waist, emerging from the mist amid tall grasses and ferns, looking towards a trap with a rat as the bait, all beneath the crescent moon. The interior cases of dense nashiji with gold fundame rims. With a polychromed wood ittobori-style netsuke.
HEIGHT 7.8 cm, LENGTH 8.5 cm
Condition: Very good condition with only very minor expected wear. Some light warping to the top case.
Provenance: From an old Geneva collection, with an old collection number and label to the interior of the top case.
Kitsune are creatures imbued with magical powers and are known to have the ability of shapeshifting. They are also believed to be animated by the devils.
The inro depicts a scene from the Kyogen play Tsurigitsune (‘Fox trapping’), in which a fox hunter is visited by his uncle, the priest Hakuzosu, who lectures his nephew on the evils of killing foxes. The hunter is nearly convinced, but after the priest departs, he hears the cry of the fox and realizes it wasn't his uncle at all but a fox in disguise. The fox resumes his natural form and reverts to his wild ways, takes the bait in a trap, and is captured by the fox hunter.
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