Inrō (literally "seal basket") were originally used to carry the personal seals which the Japanese used to stamp documents. Some examples survive from the sixteenth century.
consist of one or more compartments surmounted by a lid. The compartments are held together by a silk cord threaded down one side and up the other. Both ends are then passed through a sliding bead and then through the netsuke toggle, which held the in place hanging from the sash.
Like netsuke, were regarded as status symbols. The making of an was a highly skilled process, as each compartment had to fit smoothly into the next. For the artist or lacquer carver who decorated it, it also offered a considerable artistic challenge as the design had to fit smoothly into the three-dimensional space. Various combinations of lacquer techniques could be used including all kinds of and carving. In contrast to the highly decorative designs using much gold, were also produced which imitated subdued monochromatic ink paintings.