Japanese Lacquer Box

Japanese Antique Round Lacquer Kashibako with Domed Cover and Gold Makie Sea Shells and Pine Motif

Age:Meiji/Taisho period, early 20th century

Descriptive qualities& condition:

Dimensions: 6-3/4” dia x 3-1/4”h

This is a handcrafted Japanese black lacquer, round covered sweetmeat box with takamakie, (raised lacquer), which is indispensable in the tea ceremony.  This lacquered wood bowl is finely ornamented with three uniquely detailed sea shells, (one simulating snow on Mt. Fuji; the second with a boat at the shore, waterfall, grasses, and pine tree at Lake Biwa; and the third shows a screen, tea table with ikebana arrangement, clouds and bird in flight), all surrounded by pine branches. The inside of the black lacquer lid has the same pine branch motif executed with gold makie. The lid and box rims are lined with nickel to preserve the edging of both elements during use. The piece comes with its original black lacquer presentation stand employed when not in use, and fashioned to fit into the base of the bowl. The piece is unsigned.

Antique Condition: Excellent, fine detailing with an exceptional number of layers of lacquer giving depth to the finish. “As Is”, and retains the original craft/workmanship and perfect marriage between the lid and bowl. Any discoloration, chipping/cracking, surface wear or structural damage noted.

NOTE: There is no other part of Japanese culture which better reflects the nature of the Japanese like Japanese Tea CeremonyJapanese Tea Ceremony items combine the beauty of highly crafted lacquerware with the rich attention to detail and ritual of the Tea Ceremony.

In Kamakura, Japan, a small history-bound city located about an hour south of Tokyo, the craft of carved, lacquered woodwork has been passed down through generations of artisans. The woodcarving tradition of Japan began with Buddhist sculpture, which flourished in the Kamakura period (1185-1332). In the 14th and 15th centuries, Buddhist sculptors in Kamakura became known for their creative use of lacquered wood in a technique now referred to as Kamakura-bori. Inspired by imported Chinese methods of carving low-relief patterns into many layers of lacquer on religious objects, the new Japanese method of applying lacquer after carving the wood resulted in stunning designs that had greater depth and design possibilities. When Buddhism fell out of favor in Japan in the 19th century, artists redirected their work to produce objects for everyday life such as tea containers, trays and bowls which showcased their mastery of this technique with their intricate designs.