Mumei Kô Gotô kozuka from the late Muromachi period (無銘 古後藤 小柄 室町時代後期). Kôgai naoshi, shakudô nanakô-ji, takabori, suemon, kin gin iroe, (笄直し 赤銅魚子地 高彫 紋 金銀色絵). The nanakô 魚子 is fine and beautifully excecuted.The theme is described as Inrô no zu 印篭図. The inrô is covered in a variety of kamon 家紋 that include Roku tsu Hashi, karigane, and Turu no Maru. These are displayed in a combination of gold and silver over the rich black shakudo background. The inrô is finished with silver cords at the top and bottom.
Because traditional Japanese clothing lacked pockets, objects were often carried by hanging them from the obi. inrô were suited for carrying anything small. Consisting of a stack of tiny, nested boxes, inrô were most commonly used to carry identity seals and medicines. The stack of boxes is held together by a cord that runs through cord runners down one side, under the bottom, and up the opposite side.
This kozuka is known as kôgai naoshi. This is where the design and nanakô sections are removed from a broken or damaged kogai and set into a kozuka. The Gotô artisans were very good at preserving all manner of damaged items for future use. In most cases they were too good to waste. I would expect that this repair was done in the mid Edô period. The colour of the shakudô of the frame is considerably lighter than that of the suemon or the nanakô. The very black shakudô was more common with the earlier Gotô artists.This particular style of naoshi is quite simple. Framing naoshi is the simplest way of preserving the work. Other methods may have seen the suemon removed and placed on a new bed of nanakoô, or the design and nanako removed and fitted into a new matching bed of nanakoô. This later would be the hardest method of repair and is generally considered to be the most desirable.
I would believe also that in the case of excellent work in both the suemon or design, and the quality of the nanakô then both may be worthy of preserving. It is my opinion that this is indeed the case with this kozuka.
Length 97.1mm width 9.5mm.
Thanks for reading.