Inrô lacquer ducks

Inrô of three black lacquer compartments decorated with raden (mother-of-pearl inlay) of ducks on the water or in flight on both sides.

One of the faces shows four ducks (one per box) in different postures among a decoration of stylized bamboo leaves. The upper one in flight, head to the right, the second facing left and about to land, wings spread apart, the third in a resting position, head on its wing, the fourth on the water, leaning its head forward. The other side shows two ducks, one flying toward the upper left corner of the inrô, the other in the lower right corner, resting and on the water with its head raised toward the first.
The side edges have geometrical patterns forming friezes treated in raden.
The inside of the inrô is made of  tinted horn.

The mandarin duck, oshidori (オシド), is a species frequently found in Japan. Usually represented as a couple, it has the particularity of living with only one partner throughout its life. This is why it is perceived as the symbol of fidelity and conjugal love.

Bamboo is a plant extremely present in Japan and is widely used in many fields. Here represented only by its leaves, it is associated with calm and tranquility.

This type of lacquer with mother-of-pearl inlay is very representative of the production of the archipelago of Ryūkyū (current Okinawa prefecture). It shows a strong Chinese influence, due to the relations established by the archipelago with the Ming China since the fourteenth century.

Ojime in black lacquer, horn, mother-of-pearl and ivory, in the shape of a taiko drum (wadaiko, 和太鼓). White and orange chrysanthemum flowers in shibayama on the batters heads. The taiko has been known since at least the 6th century, at the end of the Kofun period (AD 250-538). The mythological origin of the instrument is described in the Nihon shoki (720), the second oldest book in Japan. The goddess Amaterasu, who had locked herself in a cave in anger, was recalled the elder goddess Ame-no-Uzume, while others had failed. Ame-no-Uzume manages to get Amaterasu out, aroused by curiosity, by emptying a barrel of sake and dancing on it. The taiko accompanies the religious ceremonies and popular demonstrations.

Netsuke manjû in black lacquer with raden decoration (mother-of-pearl inlay) of chrysanthemum flowers (kiku, 菊). This plant was introduced from China as early as the Nara period (710-794) and is known for its medicinal virtues. Emperor Go-Toba (1180-1239) made it his own seal. The symbolism of the flower attached to the imperial house continues nowadays.

Japan, Edo period (1603-1868), XVIIIth century
Length : 3,04 inch – Width : 2,76 inch