Japanese Lacquer Sumi Writing Box | Suzuribako | Hida Shunkei Lacquer
Suzuribako became an important item to the calligrapher in the 17th/century, (Shodō-ka), in everyday life, and is additionally found in the study, (shoin), which is a tatami-room dedicated to the reception of guests in a traditional residence, (shoin-zukuri).
This beautiful set comes complete inside of a lacquered wood storage box with lid. Included are one medium-tipped brush, one suzuri stone for grinding sumi ink, one sumi ink stick, and a metal water dropper, (suiteki). The wood box is finished with a beautiful Shunkei lacquer finish. The lid of the box is beautifully and simply carved, and lifts off to expose a tray with the various writing implements, that also is removable, below which has more storage for paper. The piece is in excellent condition, with no wear to surface or cracks to the lacquer. This Vintage piece from Hida, Takayama and was made around 1970. The case measures 9-1/2”L x 4-1/8” w x 3-1/4” h.
Various craftsmen contribute to the process of making a writing box. Skilled workers begin by building the core of the box out of seasoned wood. While some craftsmen specialize in cornering and joining the base and sides, others specialize in bent work:, creating the thin, rounded sides of the piece. Once the core is complete, the head craftsman begins the lacquering process.
Traditional Shunkei lacquer from the Takayama area, was first made at the beginning of the 16th century when a lacquer craftsman, Narita Sanemon, coated a tray which was presented as a gift by a master carpenter, Takahashi Kizaemon, of Gifu Prefecture. Hida-Shunkei lacquer work is characterized by the simple beauty of bark from trees such as Japanese cypress, Sawara cypress, or horse chestnut, with a coating technique using a slightly transparent light yellow, orange, or burgundy colored lacquer. Hida-Shunkei lacquerware was designated a traditional craft in 1975.