Vintage Japanese Red Kamakura-Bori Lacquer Letter Box w/Lid | Showa Period

This is a vintage red Kamakura-Bori Urushi lacquered document box, with a carved lid in an Peony motif done in Takamakie, (high relief), made with multiple layers of lacquer creating a beautiful sculptural effect. The side of the lid is beautifully textured and carved, giving further decorative detailing to the piece. The interior is black and contains two lacquered pieces so as to separate documents. Excellent condition with no dings or chips. Typical of the period, the piece is not signed and was made for the Japanese market. Age: Early Showa, (1926). Dimensions: 9-1/2”L x 6-1/2”w x 1-1/2”h

Additional Information—

The art of lacquerware most likely arrived in Japan from China via the Chinese writing system. By the Kamakura period, (1185-1333), Japanese craftsman, under the influence of the Song Dynasty arts, focused on carving Buddhist imagery into thick coats of lacquer, (Kamakura-bori). Craftsmen at this time began applying between 8-16 coats, (this gives the depth of color indicating quality), of thin lacquer to a carved wood base. In this way, production time, (drying), was reduced making lacquerware available beyond temples, reaching the samurai, (who studied the arts and customs), merchants, and eventually the general population. In 1979, Kamakura-bori was designated a Traditional Handicraft by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry.

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