Black lacquer writing-box

From Japan
Edo period, 17th century AD

This writing-box is in the decorative tradition of Hon'ami Kōetsu of the Rimpa school. It is decorated with black lacquer with gold makie and shell and silver inlay. The inside of the lid is inlaid with copper foil and mother-of-pearl.

The huge silver moon, bottom left, has tarnished to a mellow brown which somehow contrasts gently with the pines. The inside of the lid has exquisitely dappled deer crying in autumn. The pine motif is repeated in the brush tray.

The box now contains an inkstone and a gilt-copper water-dropper.

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Black lacquer writing-box

  • Detail: inside lid

    Detail: inside lid

  • Inside



More information


L. Smith, V. Harris and T. Clark, Japanese art: masterpieces in (London, The British Museum Press, 1990)


Length: 23.500 cm
Width: 21.000 cm
Height: 4.500 cm

Museum number

Asia JA 1974.5-13.8.a, b


Gift of Sir Harry and Lady Garner


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