- Museum number
Four-tiered, lidded picnic box. Poppy flower design. Made of wood with black lacquer with gold hiramakie and mother-of-pearl inlay; some nashiji on poppy petals; in places silver powder mixed with gold powder for paler effect.
- Production date
Height: 27.20 centimetres (with lid)
Width: 23 centimetres
Depth: 20.50 centimetres
- Curator's comments
Black and gold lacquer with shell inlay, late 17th century
This tiered box would have been used to carry in its separate compartments rice, fish, vegetables, and pickles. The design is in the exuberant taste of the Genroku era (1688-1704), and is reminiscent of the paintings of Tawara Sotatsu and his successors. (label copy, VH, 1999)
Smith et al 1990
The box would have been used to contain in its separate compartments rice, fish, vegetables and pickles. The design is typical of the exuberant urban taste of the Genroku era (1688-1704) and is reminiscent of the painting of the school of Sotatsu (see p. 52) and his successors. In places silver powder has been mixed with the gold powder to give a paler effect.
Lunches were elegantly packaged in tiered lacquer food boxes with separate compartments for fish, rice, vegetables and pickles. This was both pleasing to the eye and would keep food fresh for individual consumption. Such 'bento' boxes have been called picnic boxes by foreigners because they were taken outdoors, for example, to a cherry-blossom viewing. The more ornate boxes, such as this example, were displayed in the formal alcove 'tokonoma' of a private residence. The tiered structure probably inspired the miniature designs found on 'inro', small containers that traditionally hung from a man's belt. The poppy motif is unusual in Japanese art.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
19 Jul-21 Oct 2007, BM G33, 'Crafting Beauty in Modern Japan'
- Acquisition date
- Registration number