Precision Artistic Crafts for Adornment
It can be said that the period extending from the Edo era into Meiji was the time when the technique and artistry of handicrafts such as metalwork, lacquer art, and sculpture reached their peak. In the long peace of the Edo period as more and more people came to enjoy dressing nicely, the designs for accouterments such as sword accessories, inro, and hair ornaments, which were both decorous and of practical utility, increasingly made use of high-level technique to become beautifully sophisticated.
In the Meiji era, however, with the collapse of the feudal government and the westernization of lifestyles, demand for swords and inro sharply decreased, losing many craftsmen their jobs. At the same time new accessories such as pocket watches, obidome (sash ornament) and rings came to be prized, and highly skilled craftsmen sought to make a living in this market. Superlative technique and sensibilities refined throughout the Edo period bore therefore numerous fascinating new works that gave expression to the beauty of nature and the artists’ playful spirit.
This exhibit presents various accessories including sword attachments, inro, hair ornaments, obidome, cufflinks and rings produced from the Edo to the Meiji eras. We hope that you enjoy these masterpieces displayed on typical outfits worn by people in those times.