An 18th century four-case inrō depicting a pair of hornless dragon fish, a subject that is more commonly seen in netsuke and very rarely in inrō (this is actually the first time I have encountered an inrō depicting the subject).
The dragons are rendered in dark brown lacquer with beautifully delicate scales covering their body and gold and black lacquered eyes. Rolling waves crash and submerge all but the head of the second dragon. To the bottom, rocks in gold takamaki line the shore and silver and gold clouds stretch around the top case and onto the ‘ten’ of the inrō.
For such an old inrō the condition is exceptional, with a small restoration to the dragon’s body and a chip to one cord runner being the only damage.
Internal compartments in old nashiji and gold fundame to the rims.
Height – 7.5cm
Width – 6.3cm
Thickness – 2.2cm
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