A pair of rectangular Japanese export lacquer boxes for incense selection, late 17th/mid18th Century.

These small boxes are decorated with motifs of ‘The Tale of Genji’ in thinly raised gold makie and exceptionally finely cut gold foil. 

This classic work of Japanese literature was written by a noblewoman in the early years of the 11th Century and gives a unique depiction of contemporary court life, 3.3cm x 4.9cm x 4cm.

The 1835 Burghley Inventory records: ‘Japan Closet, Glass case opposite the window, Two small Boxes. Gold Japan.’

The 1867 Burghley Inventory records: ‘Cabinets, No 88 Japan Closet, 2 small gold japan boxes.’


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