inro butterflies and peonys

Somada school four-case lacquer inro with hako netsuke

18th century

peonies and butterflies

height 3 5/8 in., 9.2 cm

with inlaid aogai (mother-of-pearl) peonies and butterflies, nashiji risers, ensuite with lacquer ojime decorated wtih gold and silver and Somada style hako netsuke with a cicada on a blossom, nashiji interior; unsigned

The Somada family of lacquer artists developed their distinctive style of lacquer and shell inlays in the early 18th century. According to von Rague in A History of Japanese Lacquerwork (1976, p. 197), Somada Kiyosuke learned the technique, based on a Chinese Ming style, in Nagasaki, possibly from an artist known as Aogai (lit. 'green shell') Chobei. The Somada line of artists established themselves so well with the technique the style became known as Somada maki-e. Although Wrangham records twelve Somada artists in The Index of Inro Artists (1995, pp. 271-272), Somada school pieces are frequently unsigned.

another view


Scholten Japanese Art is open Monday - Friday, and some Saturdays by appointment only

Contact Katherine Martin at
(212) 585-0474 or email
to schedule a visit between 11am and 4pm preferably for no more than two individuals at a time.
Visitors are asked to wear face masks and practice social distancing at their discretion.

site last updated
October 28, 2021

Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
ph: (212) 585-0474
fx: (212) 585-0475