Treebark Cloisonne Fubaku
Japan, Meiji Period - 19th century, c. 1870
Papier mache, lacquer, and cloisonne
H: 2 1/4 inch, L: 12 1/2 inch, D: 4 inch
This is the most extraordinary example of Japanese treebark cloisonne, done on papier mache as the base medium. This handsome Fubaku, or document box, is done in the quite rare - and short-lived - treebark technique. That technique was normally done on porcelain or pottery as the base - but this one is on papier mache. The box is in the distinctive Fubaku shape, with cutaways at the center of the length, where the box would close. The background is in a rich brown, designed to look and feel like the bark of a tree. Fine gilded wires enclose the brilliantly colored design with butterflies and peony blossoms. The lacquer within the cloisonnes is subtly polished, for a naturalistic appearance so desirable in treebark. The papier mache' box form is very thin and delicate.
Condition: Some wear on the sides and bottom.