netsuke

Shunzo (Zokoku-style) lacquer inro

mid 19th century

jar form with kinma lacquer

height 9.7 cm; 3 7/8 in.

the single-case inro in the form of a compressed jar, bearing a roiro ground decorated with red lacquer in bands of geometric and floral motifs, the largest and central band with a highly stylized ho-o on one side, and on the reverse another stylized animal, perhaps a dragon; the core of the inro was made of woven reeds which are visible on the underside of the lid and at the bottom of the case, the interior in black lacquer; signed in archaic characters along the riser Shunzo sei; with ojime formed from an irregular piece of red lacquer

This inro utilizes the kinma-nuri technique of flat red on black (or sometimes black on red) lacquer which was first introduced to Japan in the form of medicine boxes imported from Thailand and Burma during the Muromachi Period (1336-1573). The technique was revitalized and adopted in the mid-19th century by the artist Fujikawa (Tamakaji) Zokoku (1806/7-1869), the brother of the artist who made this inro. The technique is so closely associated with the Zokoku family it is commonly referred to as Zokoku-style.

See Wrangham, The Index of Inro Artists, 1995, p. 128 (re: kinma) and p. 347 (re: Zokoku).

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site last updated
June 18, 2019

Scholten Japanese Art
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