Inrō with Tanabata Story of the Weaver and the Herdboy
Nomura Kyūkoku (Japanese, active first half of the 19th century)
Edo period (1615–1868)
active first half of the19th century
Three cases; lacquered wood with gold hiramaki-e and ivory inlay on mother-of-pearl ground; Netsuke: carved ivory; flowers and grasses with silver butterflies; Ojime: silver and gold quail in autumn grasses
Overall (inro): H. 3 7/8 in. (9.8 cm); W. 2 11/16 in. (6.9 cm); D. 13/16 in. (2 cm)
Overall (netsuke): H. 11/16 in. (1.7 cm); Diam. 1 11/16 in. (4.3 cm)
Overall (ojime): H. 9/16 in. (1.5 cm); W. 9/16 in. (1.4 cm)
Bequest of Benjamin Altman, 1913
Not on view
One of the relatively large pieces of mother-of-pearl that comprise the surface of this inro was colored with gold and incised to create an image of a silk winder, identifying the imagery as a representation of the Milky Way. The winder refers to the Weaver Star, who is tragically separated by the Milky Way from her lover, the Cowherd Star. The two are allowed to meet only once a year, a union that is the basis for Tanabata, or the Star Festival, in Japan, held annually between July 7 and August 7. Over time, this festival has been conflated with Obon, a celebration of one's ancestors.
Signature: Kyukoku; sign add.: incised
Marking: Seal: Kakihan
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Mother-of-Pearl: A Tradition in Asian Lacquer," December 2, 2006–April 1, 2007.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "No Ordinary Mortals: The Human Figure in Japanese Art," 2007–2008.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Ukiyo-e Artists' Responses to Romantic Legends of Two Brothers: Narihira and Yukihira," March 27, 2008–June 8, 2008.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Landscapes in Japanese Art," June 24, 2010–November 7, 2010.
Artist: Hara Yōyūsai (Japanese, 1772–1845)Date: early 19th centuryMedium: Case: powdered gold (maki-e) and colored lacquer on black lacquer with mother-of-pearl and gold inlays; Fastener (ojime): ivory carved with abstract design; Toggle (netsuke): ivory carved in the shape of a crab
Accession: 13.67.22On view in:Not on view
Artist: Nakayama Komin (Japanese, 1808–1870)Date: 19th centuryMedium: Hiramaki-e with nashiji on black lacquer, roiro, nashiji, gold and silver hiramakie, gold and silver foil; Interior: nashiji and fundame; Ojime: ivory bead with vines and grasses in gold lacquer; Netsuke: woven basket with shell and gold lacquer)Accession: 36.100.210On view in:Not on view
Artist: Yamada Jōkasai (1681–1704)Date: second half of the 19th centuryMedium: Gold and colored lacquer with inlaid mother-of-pearl on ro-iro black lacquer; ojime: metal bead inlaid with silver; netsuke: carved ebony inlaid with ivory design of DarumaAccession: 13.67.83On view in:Not on view
Artist: Kyūkoku (Japanese, active first half of the 19th century)Date: first half of the 19th centuryMedium: Two-part (sheath type); lacquered wood with gold, silver, and pewter hiramaki-e, togidashimaki-e, on red lacquer ground
Netsuke: ivory; rabbit
Ojime: pierced metal with floral design
Accession: 38.25.128On view in:Not on view
Date: first half of the 19th centuryMedium: Five cases; lacquered wood with gold, silver, red, black takamaki-e, hiramaki-e on gold lacquer ground; Netsuke: carved ivory; folded obi sash; Ojime: metal bead with autumn grasses
Accession: 29.100.775On view in:Not on view