A small Japanese export lacquer sumiaka-shaped box, late 18th/early 19th Century.

The box, which could be either a cosmetic box, or an incense container, is decorated with birds and pine branches and is mounted with two rings which have charming shell-shaped bases and gilt-bronze eyelets, 10.5cm.

The term sumiaka refers to a type of surface decoration using cloud patterns in red lacquer on a coarse fabric-textured ground.

The 1835 Burghley Inventory records: ‘Japan Closet, Japan in the Glass case opposite the door(s), sic, B. G & Red A Box.’

The 1867 Burghley Inventory records: ‘Cabinets, No 88 Japan Closet, A black, gold and red japan box.’

Exhibited: ‘Export Lacquer: Reflection of the West in Black & Gold Makie.’ 2008, Kyoto Museum & Suntory Museum, Tokyo, Cat. No.208.


Related collections