Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A small, usually ornamented box that is hung from the waist sash of a Japanese kimono and has compartments for holding small objects such as cosmetics, perfumes, or medicines.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a small decorative box, hung from the sash of a kimono, for holding small objects

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A small closed receptacle or set of receptacles of hard material, as lacquered wood, iron, bronze, or ivory, used by the Japanese to hold medicines, perfumes, and the like, and carried in the girdle. It is usually secured by a silk cord by which the wearer may grasp it, which cord passes through an ornamental button or knob called a netsuke.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A small ornamental nest of boxes of lacquer-ware, ivory, etc., carried by Japanese at the girdle, and used to hold the seal (hence the name), medicines, perfumes, or the like.

Etymologies

Japanese inrō : in, stamp, seal (from Middle Chinese ʔin) + -rō, seclusion, case (from Middle Chinese ləwŋ).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Japanese 印籠 (inrō). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The inro is a sealed case comprising small, nested boxes for storing personal belongings; the netsuke, a small carving of animals or people, kept the inro securely closed.

    Asian Art Soars in London

  • An "inro" is a traditional Japanese case for holding small objects especially medicines.

    Japundit - Published news

  • At both houses, inro and netsuke will feature prominently.

    Asian Art Soars in London

  • Starting at the age of eight until his death in 2009, Mr. Wrangham assembled notable examples of Japanese inro (little boxes in which Japanese gentlemen secreted valuables on their person), netsuke (miniature figures) and sword fittings.

    The Allure of Asian Art

  • Christie's sale of Japanese art and design Wednesday will include more than 390 lots from the 16th to the 20th century of inro, netsuke, prints, ceramics, sword fittings and lacquer.

    The Allure of Asian Art

  • A charming lacquer, three-case, 18th-century inro decorated with an owl wearing a hat is estimated at £3,000-£3,500.

    The Allure of Asian Art

  • In hopes the United States can learn and develop rather than continue its downward spiral inro hate nad conflict.

    LIVE Blog: Landmark health care bill heads to Obama's desk

  • I loved my class from Jana…it was the “secret shape” inro.

    Polka Dot Cottage: Giddy anticipation

  • On January 18, we moved out of our home for the last eight years and inro Blair House.

    Barbara Bush

  • One within the other -- like the little lacquered boxes of an inro? '

    Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan Second Series

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