Lacquer document box

From Japan
Edo period, 19th century AD

The interlocking design of black crows and white egrets is very unusual, and has no real precedent in Japanese art. However, it does have something in common with the painting of the Rimpa school, and can be placed in the tradition of depicting flocks of birds on Japanese screens, common from the seventeenth century onwards.

The crows' eyes, inlaid with gold lacquer and mother-of pearl, and the conspicuous pinkish bills of the egrets both help us to pick out the birds from the puzzling design.

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More information


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


Length: 30.500 cm
Width: 24.300 cm
Height: 6.200 cm

Museum number

Asia JA 1946.10-12.1.a-c


Gift of Dr Bernhard Landan


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