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Tobacco box

Tobacco box

  • Place of origin:

    Japan (made)

  • Date:

    about 1850-1890 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Shibata Zeshin, born 1807 - died 1891 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    <i>Kanshitsu</i> (substrate made by fixing hemp over a mould with lacquer, often known as 'dry lacquer') covered in brown-black lacquer, with <i>seigaiha</i> ('blue sea wave', a combed wave lacquer technique in low relief), <i>takamaki-e</i> (a <i>maki-e</i> technique in which parts of the design can be raised by clay or charcoal powder) and <i>urushi-e</i> (painting on lacquer in lacquer) in black lacquer.

  • Credit Line:

    Alexander Gift

  • Museum number:

    W.187A-1916

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Zeshin was the most creative influence in the field of lacquer during the second half of the nineteenth century. Through an intensive study of past lacquer masterpieces, Zeshin developed an enormous interest in lacquer techniques. He perfected lacquer surfaces imitating other materials, such as bronze, ceramic and stone. He rediscovered how to produce seigaiha-nuri ('blue sea wave', a combed wave technique in low relief), a technique reputed to have been introduced by Seigai Kanshichi in the Genroku era (1688-1704).

Physical description

Tobacco box (tonkotsu) and lid, the substrate made by fixing hemp over a mould with lacquer, a technique often known as 'dry lacquer' (<i>kanshitsu</i>), in the form of a rectangular container with rounded corners, being wider at the bottom than the top, covered in brown-black lacquer, with a design of swirling waves at the water's edge from the bottom left to the top right of one large side and over to the other in seigaihanuri ('blue sea wave lacquer', a combed wave lacquer technique in low relief), with the focal point being on one small side, this having the addition of waves, rock, shells, and seaweed in takamaki-e (a maki-e technique in which parts of the design can be raised by clay or charcoal powder) and urushi-e (painting on lacquer in lacquer) in black lacquer.

Place of Origin

Japan (made)

Date

about 1850-1890 (made)

Artist/maker

Shibata Zeshin, born 1807 - died 1891 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Kanshitsu (substrate made by fixing hemp over a mould with lacquer, often known as 'dry lacquer') covered in brown-black lacquer, with seigaiha ('blue sea wave', a combed wave lacquer technique in low relief), takamaki-e (a maki-e technique in which parts of the design can be raised by clay or charcoal powder) and urushi-e (painting on lacquer in lacquer) in black lacquer.

Marks and inscriptions

Zeshin

Dimensions

Height: 7 cm, Length: 9.2 cm, Width: 4.4 cm

Object history note

Strange V&A catalogue no. 1014

Descriptive line

Tobacco box, dry-lacquer body covered in brown and black lacquer with a raised design of waves, rock, shells, and seaweed, signed Zeshin, Japan, ca. 1850-1890

Labels and date

TOBACCO BOX
Wood covered in brown and black lacquer with seigaihanuri (combed wave pattern)
Waves, shells and seaweed
Signed Zeshin
About 1850-1890
W.187-1916
ALEXANDER GIFT
Shibata Zeshin (1807-91) was the most creative influence in the field of lacquer during the second half of the 19th century. Through an intensive study of past lacquer masterpieces, Zeshin developed an enormous interest in lacquer techniques. As a result he perfected lacquer surfaces imitating other materials, such as bronze, ceramic and stone. He even rediscovered how to produce seigaihanuri (blue sea wave coating), a technique reputed to have been introduced by Seigai Kanshichi in the Genroku era (1688-1704).
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Materials

Lacquer

Techniques

Lacquering

Subjects depicted

Waves; Shells; Seaweed

Categories

Accessories

Collection

East Asia Collection

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