This is one of the more intriguing lacquer objects we have owned. Adorned with maki-e Aoe (hollyhock) Ka-mon on nashiji ground (also known as the Kamo Aoi as it was sacred to the Kamo shrine), family crest for prominent daimyo families including the Tokugawa and the Matsudaira during the Momoyama and Edo periods. Even the drawer pull is fashioned as an open worked shibuichi Aoe Ka-mon with the surprise of a textured, kinko (soft metal) raised backing only if you look for it. More interesting yet is the unusual form of this object - perhaps an only opportunity to acquire an example. Resembling a food tray on stand, it nonetheless has a drawer (not common to the form.) And a tall cover comes with a screen (silk?) as if to permit viewing whilst keeping something either in or out. We have not found another example of the form and so are not certain if it might be a covered dining tray (though the drawer) if intended to keep bugs out. Or perhaps it is in fact an insect terrarium (someone suggested it might be a large "cricket cage" or for praying mantis - maybe even to observe mantis combat) keeping the bugs in as it were. We can only speculate at the moment and heartily welcome suggestions or insight - maybe something not yet considered. The covered stand is in rather good condition for a mid Edo lacquer object. Good condition with expected testimony of age and use. There are the usual small lacquer losses mostly to edging (not at all detracting.) There is some fading - varying to the extent exposed to light (see our enlargement comparing surfaces of exterior, screened interior, drawer interior.) There is one minutely small handle stop stud missing from the screened cover. 18th to early 19th century. 13 inches (33.02 cm) high, 9 5/8 (24.45 cm) inches wide, 12 inches (30.48 cm) long.
Since listing this item, someone has suggested its holding fireflies (hotaru) as a possible use.