Inro and Netsuke

Contributed by The Harris Museum and Art Gallery Preston

Inro and netsuke are men's accessories which date from the Edo period of Japan (1603-1867). An inro was a portable case used to carry writing materials or traditional medicines such as ginseng and cinnamon. The inro was fastened behind the man's kimono sash using a silk cord and secured with a netsuke which was a decorative toggle. This collection of the inro and netsuke symbolise the influence of western culture on Japan in the 19th century. In the 1870s the Japanese government encouraged men to adopt a more western style of dress such as hats, jackets and trousers. The use of inro therefore dwindled and many fine examples were collected by British collectors and museums.

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