Meiji Bijutsu

Antique Meiji Period Kyoten Maki-e Lacquer Box

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Directory: Archives: Regional Art: Asian: Japanese: Pre 1910: Item # 1190149
Meiji Bijutsu
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Kita-aoyama 3-14-1
Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan

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This beautiful lacquer box is part of a series of mostly antique and vintage items that we recovered from the storehouse of a retired construction contractor. His house is located in the southern part of Kyoto, where buildings from the Edo and Meiji periods still stand. His son not being interested in inheriting his father's collection, we were asked to take them out, and we are now able to present them to you.

Maki-e is a lacquer technique where gold is applied to the black lacquer to form often rich and delicate motifs to decorate an objet, usually a box. It was developed during the Heian period (794-1185), in Japan.

This particular box dates from the Meiji period (1868-1912). It features a lotus flower on the lid and was probably used to keep kyoten (Buddhist scriptures). The motif of the lotus flower, a symbol for enlightenment is repeated on the front part of the lid, next to what seems to be a wheel of Dharma, a symbol for knowledge, though it strangely looks more like a cross.

Please let us know if you have some questions.

The box is in good general condition. The gold has worn off in a few spots and the black lacquer is a little scratched in others. There is a small dent inside the box (see picture 11) and a running line under the lid (see picture 12).
Dimensions: 25 x 30.5 x 5.3 cm (10 x 12.2 x 2.12 in); 662 g (1.46 lb)

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