A five-case inrō depicting a night scene of iris, peony and hotaru (firefly). The heads of the flowers are rendered in brown lacquer and foliage in yamimaki-e (black on black lacquer). Above, twelve hotaru dance; a pair have fluttered their way onto the top case. Their wings are inlaid in shell and heads picked out with red lacquer. As they fly, a delicate sprinkling of gold trails behind, illuminating the night sky. The iris line a flowing river in various shades of sprinkled gold and silver, completing an exceptional inrō that, since it came into my possession, I’ve been unable to put down. The subtle colour change between the yamimaki-e and brown lacquer creates a beautiful contrast and gives depth which, when considering the choice of techniques, is a real testament to the artist’s skill. This, combined with the delicate river, makes the piece one of my absolute favourites.
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