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Inro of silk brocade in tree

A place to discuss and share other forms of sagemono such as Inro, Pipe Cases etc
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Oishii
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Inro of silk brocade in tree

Postby Oishii » Fri Feb 02, 2018 9:54 am

Hi everyone,

would like to share this inro with you and look forward to your comments on the subject and meaning of it.
we already had a lively discussion on this amongst the modteam and Martyn, who all have been given really interesting leads.

The inro is not in perfect condition - I know this is important for Inro-collectors - but I felt attracted by the very elegant, flowing movement in the silk.
Also, the brocade figures in the silk are quite appealing as well. The design continues over the back and front of the Inro.
It is unsigned, but as attribution to a studio, Martyn suggested it would belong to the Koma lineage.
Inro.jpg
Inro2.jpg


* initial thoughts were of a kite in a tree, but this had to be dismissed, because of the silk brocade being wrapped up in the tree.

* we pondered on a possible relation to Shinto, items for the spirits being wrapped in trees.

* "a cherry blossom viewing for important people and consorts" is something that was a good hint by Alan ... the timing being March, but we were unsure about the flowering in the trees coinciding with that time of year.

* a couple of similar Inro like the one below, showed a brocade silk as well, with the ceremonial drum (used in gagaku).
This one is also by a member of the Koma studio (Koma Kansai, 19th C) It is striking that the silk is shown in the same waving pattern.
similar.png

* Judy's super-sleuthing lead to the idea of a Daimyo procession and she showed some very beautiful woodblock-printed panels depicting banners, curtains like our silk that are used for such a procession in the first, third and fifth month.

* Our discussion on the type of tree and flowerings went back and forth and we haven't figured out what it is.
this is mainly because of the silver and black colour of the petals (which might be stylised ?) and the shape of the leaves.
- hawthorn
cherry.png

- crab apple
crabapple.png

- cherry blossom
hawthorne.png

* a strong lead was suggested by Martyn, saying that hawthorn has been used for dyeing silk for hundreds of years. So the striking focal point of the inro on the area where the curtain is tied up, showing the branch of the tree (possibly hawthorn) could point a symbolic relation between the hawthorn tree and silk.
And what about a little detail of shunga, shown in this very focal point, on a branch of the tree ?

Welcome and appreciate any suggestions and ideas ?
Last edited by Oishii on Fri Feb 02, 2018 10:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
Jan

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chonchon
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Re: Inro of silk brocade in tree

Postby chonchon » Fri Feb 02, 2018 10:14 am

Split in the tip of the petals is a strong indicator for cherry blossoms. End of March, beginning of April. During the viewings, clouds of petals can come spiralling down.
See this thread for o-danmaku curtains or wind breaks and tea and cherry blossom viewings.
http://www.militaria.co.za/nmb/topic/23 ... da-teppei/
Piers

Size is something.

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neilholton
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Re: Inro of silk brocade in tree

Postby neilholton » Fri Feb 02, 2018 10:59 am

Spot on Piers :)

This is a frequent lacquer design. Bushell had a beautiful Inro of this design, illustrated in Inro Handbook and then the Sothebys sale.

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souldeep
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Re: Inro of silk brocade in tree

Postby souldeep » Fri Feb 02, 2018 12:08 pm

chonchon wrote:Split in the tip of the petals is a strong indicator for cherry blossoms. End of March, beginning of April. During the viewings, clouds of petals can come spiralling down.
See this thread for o-danmaku curtains or wind breaks and tea and cherry blossom viewings.
http://www.militaria.co.za/nmb/topic/23 ... da-teppei/

Hi Piers, Neil,

Reason I suggested it may be a Japanese Hawthorn was two fold.

The depicted leaves (with associated petals) in Jan's example, seem closer to a Japanese Hawthorn than the Cherry we more commonly found in other examples during the research. Note that Jan's Cherry and Hawthorn image labels are the wrong way round. Below is a Japanese Hawthorn.

03_40_29_hawthorn (2).jpg

That the brocade is entangled in the tree seems significant. Whilst researching other examples, we found Jan's example differs to other examples of the standard blossom viewing representation.

Does this entanglement mean anything? And could it refer to the relationship between the silk brocade depicted, and the dye process from the Hawthorn tree (if indeed it is a Hawthorn)?

Another aspect maybe worth considering is that the centre focus of the tied up brocade seems to lead the viewer to the trunk, not a bunch of petals, or falling petals.
Piglet: "Pooh?" Pooh: "Yes, Piglet?" Piglet: "I've been thinking..." Pooh: "That's a very good habit to get into to, Piglet." - A.A. Milne.

dougsanders
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Re: Inro of silk brocade in tree

Postby dougsanders » Fri Feb 02, 2018 2:50 pm

I'm with Piers and Neil :D Sometimes you guys read too much into what are essentially very conventional decorative motives.

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souldeep
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Re: Inro of silk brocade in tree

Postby souldeep » Fri Feb 02, 2018 3:09 pm

Guilty :D

Japanese art, and the cultural aspect in which they sometimes display a playful nature with the relationship of words and meanings, can lead me to overthink the message :idea:
Piglet: "Pooh?" Pooh: "Yes, Piglet?" Piglet: "I've been thinking..." Pooh: "That's a very good habit to get into to, Piglet." - A.A. Milne.

onimh
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Re: Inro of silk brocade in tree

Postby onimh » Fri Feb 02, 2018 5:20 pm

Martyn,
What do your mentors Piglet and Pooh have to say about that?

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souldeep
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Re: Inro of silk brocade in tree

Postby souldeep » Sat Feb 03, 2018 6:38 am

think2.gif
Piglet: "Pooh?" Pooh: "Yes, Piglet?" Piglet: "I've been thinking..." Pooh: "That's a very good habit to get into to, Piglet." - A.A. Milne.

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tanukisan
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Re: Inro of silk brocade in tree

Postby tanukisan » Sat Feb 03, 2018 11:42 am

souldeep wrote:That the brocade is entangled in the tree seems significant. Whilst researching other examples, we found Jan's example differs to other examples of the standard blossom viewing representation.
Does this entanglement mean anything?


I'd still like to think that this alludes to Japanese poetry and also as Jan suggests shunga - Issa refers to courtesans as sakura and (Cherry Town) Sakura-machi was a pleasure quarter in Edo less expensive than the more famous Yoshiwara. The very first song of the Kanginshu song collection complied in 1518 refers to -
''The blossom's belt
That brocade belt below,
When it opens up
I can't help myself ...''
The 'brocade' was a Chinese weave that had just started to feature a cherry blossom motif.
It was common in Japanese poetry to sexualize cherry blossoms , so that the rain becomes a seducer, the wind a ravisher and the late blooming cherry a woman who hold out!

John 


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chonchon
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Re: Inro of silk brocade in tree

Postby chonchon » Sat Feb 03, 2018 2:19 pm

Nothing wrong with any of that, but I do not think anything is caught up in the tree, merely tied up in the middle. Under the cherry trees many a new love blossoms with the spring,
Piers

Size is something.


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