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Writing table

Writing table

  • Place of origin:

    Japan (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1620 (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Wood, covered with gold and silver <i>takamaki-e</i> (high sprinkled picture) and <i>nashiji (pear-skin ground)</i> lacquer, with gold and silver details; silvered metal fittings

  • Credit Line:

    Given by the Misses Alexander

  • Museum number:

    W.339-1916

  • Gallery location:

    Japan, room 45, case 14

This writing desk illustrates a pictorial representation of a poem. The literary design hints at lines of a renga or thirty-one syllable poem that were composed by two people. The poem, like the design on the writing desk, illustrates the themes of loneliness and separation through motifs like a broken bridge for decay and a dilapidated palace on the left side of the box. On the right side are salt burners huts which are perhaps in reference to a place known as Suma, famous as a place of exile during the early 9th century. Such writing desks were used for composing poetry during special gatherings or for writing letters and calligraphy. Most tables were used to illustrate aesthetic taste rather than being purely practicle in function.

Physical description

Writing desk, wood with gold and silver lacquer. Decoration in gold and silver takamaki-e (high sprinkled picture) on a nashiji (pear-skin ground) of a deserted palace by the sea.

Place of Origin

Japan (made)

Date

ca. 1620 (made)

Materials and Techniques

Wood, covered with gold and silver takamaki-e (high sprinkled picture) and nashiji (pear-skin ground) lacquer, with gold and silver details; silvered metal fittings

Dimensions

Height: 9 cm, Length: 59.7 cm, Width: 35 cm

Descriptive line

Writing desk (bundai), wood with gold and silver lacquer takamaki-e (high sprinkled picture) with nashiji (pear-skin ground) of a deserted palace, Japan, 17th century.

Subjects depicted

Palaces; Buildings; Landscapes (representations); Trees

Categories

Images Online; Woodwork; Furniture

Collection

East Asia Collection

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