Skip to contentSkip to navigation
Become a Member
Explore today's schedule
Visit MMFA for free by becoming a Member
Learn more
Back
Currently shown

Incense Ceremony Cabinet (kōdansu)

Location

JAPAN

Era

Edo period (1615-1868)

Title

Incense Ceremony Cabinet (kōdansu)

Date

Probably late 18th c.

Materials

Maki-e lacquer on wood, gilt metal, pewter, mother-of-pearl inlay

Dimensions

21 x 14.3 x 13.9 cm

Credits

Gift of F. Cleveland Morgan, inv. 1949.Ee.1

Collection

Archeology and World Cultures

This portable box was used to store different items for the incense ceremony (kō-awase), an exclusive leisure activity of the aristocracy since the Heian period (794-1192). The aim of the ceremony, with its incredibly detailed rituals, was to rank aromatic pastes made by competitors according to their scent. One side of the box slides up, showing three small drawers inside. The box exterior is decorated with plum blossoms and foliage, associated with spring, while the faces of the drawers feature maple leaves, associated with autumn. Some motifs are applied in maki-e, a technique in which gold powder is sprinkled on the lacquered surface while it is still wet.

A touch of culture to your inbox
Subscribe to the Museum newsletter

Bourgie Hall Newsletter sign up

This website uses cookies in order to optimize your browsing experience and for promotional purposes. To learn more, please see our policy on the protection of personal Iinformation