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Four-case inro with chicken and plant designs in roundels

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Shibayama saku. Signature translation: Made by Shibayama 芝山作


By 1911, purchased by William Sturgis Bigelow (b. 1850 - d. 1926), Boston [see note 1]; 1911, gift of Bigelow to the MFA. (Accession Date: August 3, 1911) NOTES: [1] Much of Bigelow's collection of Asian art was formed during his residence in Japan between 1882 and 1889, although he also made acquisitions in Europe and the United States. Bigelow deposited many of these objects at the MFA in 1890 before donating them to the Museum's collection at later dates.

Credit Line

William Sturgis Bigelow Collection

Japanese, Meiji era, Late 19th century


Overall: 7.3 x 5.6 x 2.4 cm (2 7/8 x 2 3/16 x 15/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

The sunken roundels: gold lacquer ground of very fine kinpun verging on kinji; decoration in shell, horn, coral, colored glass and tortoiseshell with gold and aokin hiramaki-e, takamaki-e and kirikane. Remainder of exterior: black lacquer ground; covered by irregular gold hirame flakes; borders gold lacquer; compartment lids and risers gold Gyobu nashiji; compartment interiors gold nashiji; shoulders and rims gold fundame