Cluster of ita-beni (portable lip pallet)

Beni Museum

Beni Museum
Tokyo, Japan

From the middle of the Edo Period (18th century), many portable makeup items, collectively called kaichu kesho dogu, started to be made in large numbers. One of them was a portable lip pallet called ita-beni.
The main ita-beni shapes were box, plate, and folded shapes. These were made from materials such as ivory, antlers, tortoiseshell, metal, wood, and paper. Beni was brushed inside the ita-beni, and various designs were created using Japanese lacquer, gold and silver lacquer, and inlay outside the ita-beni. There were both ready-made and custom-made varieties, showing that women were interested also in makeup containers at this time. The skilled techniques and aesthetics involved in making ita-beni, which were small in size and used elaborate handiwork, have been handed down from the craftsmen of that time to the present.
When the beni brushed on the inside of their ita-beni was used up, women could bring the ita-beni to a beni-ya and ask to have it brushed again.


  • Title: Cluster of ita-beni (portable lip pallet)

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