Condition: Excellent

Japanese 950 Silver Box with Chased Foliage Motif and Tray | Taisho Period

This is a fine and old Japanese cigarette/playing cards case with removable cover. The lid is intricately and exquisitely hand chased with a foliage motif, while the sides of the box are unornamented. The interior of the box is lined in kiri wood as well as its stand, and is a combination of silver and wood, and has been beautifully preserved. The bottom rim of the silver box is stamped SILVER 950 (higher and purer grade silver than sterling). This box and stand is dated approximately 1918. This stamp was used during the Taisho Period (1912-1926). Box Dimensions: 5-3/8”L x 4-0”w x 1-1/2”h. Tray Dimensions: 7-0”L x 4-0”w x ¾”h.

Additional Information—

Numerous Japanese craftsmen lived in the three major cities of Edo, Kyoto, and Osaka at the end of the seventeenth century, making a variety of metal products for use in daily life. At the time, nothing was signed because it was not deemed important until westerners entered the country. Japan’s use of metals, particularly silver, attracted the attention of the Dutch traders who had arrived in Nagasaki around the 1800’s, and both silver and copper objects, as well as raw silk yarn and tea, soon became important export product.

Japan’s metal crafts, mainly utensils, boxes, and vessels, received a fresh appraisal because of the superlative techniques and unusual designs when they were exhibited at the 1873 Vienna World’s fair, and again in 1876 at the World’s fair in Philadelphia, and finally at the Paris World’s fair in 1900. Japanese alloys became famous because they generally have higher silver contents than those produced in China. The outcome was that nine craftsmen from Tokyo (Silver), Kyoto, (Silver & Bronze), Kanazawa, (Gold Leaf), Takaoka, (Bronze Casting) and elsewhere won medals for their copper utensils and fine gold and silver work. It was therefore decided that Japanese metal products were well able to withstand the critical eye of foreigners, and the export of these products was greatly increased. A trading company called Kiritsu Koshogaisha, established as a result of the both fairs, also directed its efforts towards exporting these arts and crafts.


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