Inro with ojime and netsuke, Japan, before 1915
An inro is a decorative container. It carries items such as medicine boxes or tobacco from the sash of a kimono. A kimono is a traditional Japanese dress. Inro were worn with carved toggles called netsuke. They were considered objects of status. This beautiful box is made of a lacquered wood. A mother-of-pearl inlay depicts cherry blossom leaves. The box pulls apart forming four separate receptacles and lid. A cord runs through two side tubes. Attached to the cord is a large blue bead called an ojime. These were often intricately carved. They were made from glass, tortoiseshell, ivory, coral, silver, gold and other precious materials. They are highly collectable. This ojime may have been substituted for an original carved version at some point.
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Glossary: Traditional Chinese Medicine
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a medical tradition originating in China, but now used worldwide. Treatments include herbal medicine, massage and acupuncture, which are combined to create a therapy tailored to the patient.
Small ornamental object carved in wood or ivory. Netsuke were used as toggles (buttons) for Japanese kimonos or pouches in the 1600s.