Japan, Meiji Period
Length: 40.5 cm, 16 in.
Width: 34 cm, 13.38 in.
Depth: 16 cm, 6.3 in.
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Of rectangular form, opening to reveal a removable tray, exquisitely decorated with inlaid and lacquered gold, takamaki-e and hiramaki-e, the lid featuring a tranquil landscape scene with bamboo and a blossoming tree, similar auspicious foliate decoration to the side and interior of the lid. The box interior finely decorated kin-hira-maki-e on a nashiji ground, creating a shimmering speckled dot pattern. The stunning decoration throughout, executed in varying lacquer techniques, conveys extraordinary skill and artistry.
Long admired in China, Korea, and Japan for both its protective and aesthetic properties, lacquer has been used for millennia to create and adorn a variety of objects. This ornate Ryoshi-bako, or document box, would have typically been used to hold important documents, letters, and even writing utensils such as paper, brushes, and ink.
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