Japanese Suzuri-Bako | Kamakura Lacquer Writing Box | 1930’s

Pictured is an unusual suzuri-bako, (writing box), from the 
This particular suzuribako is a little different from most. The rectangular box and ornamented cover is used for storing writing paper & postcards, with a place for stamps and a secret space with a removable inner tray. This box is made of aged wood, carved, and then covered with multiple layers of lacquer. The more elaborate boxes were adorned with a high-relief design, and in this case a bamboo branch and leaves are the basis for the motif. The sides of the lid are wonderfully fashioned to give further interest to the top side of the cover. The piece is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks or fading. Dimensions: 8-1/8”L x 4-7/8”W x 1-5/8”D.                   

Historical Information —

Kamakura lacquerware has some very special qualities that is not seen in any other Japanese lacquer ware. The method, which emphasizes the two- dimensional effect of the bold patterns of the carving are also evidenced by this unique carving technique. In the early days, huge containers used for burning incense at Zen Buddhist temples were mainly produced, but the range of products gradually increased to include tea utensils for the popularity of the tea ceremony at the end of the Muromachi period (1333-1568). It was not until the beginning of the Meiji period (1868-1912), however, that everyday articles such as letter, writing, and other storage boxes, finished in Kamakura lacquer started to appear.

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