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Writing Box (suzuribako)

Location

JAPAN

Era

Edo period (1615-1868)

Title

Writing Box (suzuribako)

Date

About 1800

Materials

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

Dimensions

4.7 x 18.4 x 23.8 cm

Credits

Gift of F. Cleveland Morgan, inv. 1949.Ee.2a-c

Collection

Archeology and World Cultures

During the Edo period, the aesthetic appreciation for nature was reflected in everyday objects. Almost all living things, from flowers to animals to clouds, appeared in decorative motifs. This writing box (suzuribako) with a stag on the cover and maple leaves on the cover interior is designed in the style of Rinpa (also Rimpa), a school of art whose name derives from Ogata Kōrin (1658-1716) – pa, meaning school, of (Kō)rin. In the early nineteenth century, the artist, collector and publisher Sakai Hōitsu (1761-1828) published One Hundred Paintings of Kōrin, sparking a renewed interest in the artist’s highly decorative screens, scrolls, textiles and lacquerware. The stag, worshipped as a messenger of a Shintō deity, alludes to the beauty of autumn; maple leaves, also representing autumn, are often shown near it.

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