A Japanese export lacquer sandbar-shaped box, 18th Century.

The three-lobed box is decorated with a view of five geese by a bank of reeds, which are depicted in gold thinly raised makie, silver flat makie and gold painted lines.

The combination of geese and reeds is a traditional motif, though it is not based on any literary or auspicious meaning. The same theme is found on chests of drawers and coffers made for export, 8.4cm wide 6.3cm high.

The 1835 Burghley Inventory records: ‘Japan Closet, Glass case opposite the window, A trefoil shaped Box. Gold.’

The box was exhibited at the 2008 exhibition ‘Export Lacquer: Reflection of the West in Black & Gold Makie’ at Kyoto Museum & the Suntory Museum, Tokyo.


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