A Japanese export lacquer table cabinet, decorated with fans and tomoe crests, late 18th Century.

The cabinet, with a hinged door, encloses three graduated drawers.

It is decorated in raised makie and thinly raised gold and silver makie on a pear-skin ground with scattered fans, bearing a variety of symbolic motifs from the natural world, and tomoe crests, which appear as comma shapes within a circle.

These reflect the fact that this small cabinet would have been made originally for the Japanese domestic market, later finding its way onto the foreign market, 35cm by 24.6cm by 21.8cm.

The 1835 Burghley Inventory records: ‘Japan Closet, Glass case opposite the window, A Chest with three drawers Gold Japan with embossed Fans.’

The 1867 Burghley Inventory records: ‘Cabinets, No 88 Japan Closet, A gold japan chest, embossed fans, with 3 drawers.’


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