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: Ganbun (Japanese, active until 1870s)Date: mid-19th centuryMedium: Single case; lacquered wood imitating bamboo with pewter and silver inlay and gold hiramaki-e Netsuke: bamboo; lacquered wood with gold hiramaki-e and stained ivory inlay Ojime: snail; copperAccession: 13.67.10On view in:Gallery 223
Artist: Maki-e by Yūtokusai Gyokkei (Japanese, (active early–mid-19th century))Date: mid-19th centuryMedium: Four cases; lacquered wood with gold and silver hiramaki-e on gold lacquer ground Netsuke: lacquered wood with inlay of a snail on bamboo Ojime: metal bead with birdsAccession: 36.100.246On view in:Gallery 223
Date: second half of the 19th centuryMedium: Sheath shape; lacquered wood with gold and silver takamaki-e, hiramaki-e, togidashimaki-e, and colored ivory inlay on gold lacquer ground Netsuke: kagamibuta type, lotus pad with frog; stained ivory and metal Ojime: agate beadAccession: 29.100.874On view in:Gallery 223