Late Meiji - early Taisho (1910s) unusual small Japanese keyaki (zelkova serrata - Japanese elm) wood box, its top inlaid with a metal fitting depicting a seated boy wearing flower decorated robe and having a look of melancholy on his face. I believe it represents Kikujido - the Chrysanthemum Boy - the Emperor’s favorite page, who was condemned to exile. The Emperor taught Kikujido a phrase by the Buddha to thank him for his loyalty. Kikujido left and settled in a valley full of chrysanthemums, and spent his days writing the phrase on the petals so he would not forget it. Beautiful wood with rich texture and play of reds and browns, excellent metalwork with various patinas and gilding, superb detailing - see the facial expression and superbly inlaid robe. Bottom and cover fit nicely, in excellent condition. Box length 3 15/16 inches (10 cm), height with cover 7/8 inches.