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  • Place of origin:

    Japan (made)

  • Date:

    1850-1860 (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Wood with gold <i>hiramaki-e</i> on black lacquer, red-lacquered paper, silvered and gilded paper, silk cords

  • Credit Line:

    Given by HM Queen Victoria

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Temporary Exhibition, room 39, case CA07 []

Physical description

Lidded cosmetic box and tray with an overhanging lid, and with a pair of large red (faded) silk cords and tassels each fixed to a metal ring on the bottom section of the box, wood covered in black lacquer and decorated with cherry blossoms and floral scrolls in gold hiramaki-e and takamaki-e lacquer; the box contains 11 combs, 2 brushes, 11 wrappers and 2 paper knots for styling the hair and applying make-up. The interior and underside of the box is in black lacquer.

Place of Origin

Japan (made)


1850-1860 (made)

Materials and Techniques

Wood with gold hiramaki-e on black lacquer, red-lacquered paper, silvered and gilded paper, silk cords


Height: 7 in, Length: 11 in, Width: 9 in

Object history note

This box was part of a group of lacquer items which were a gift from the Shogun Tokugawa Iemochi (r.1858-66) to Queen Victoria (r.1837-1901) in 1860, and subsequently donated to the V&A in 1865.

Descriptive line

Lidded cosmetic box and tray containing combs, brushes and other items for styling the hair, wood covered in black and gold lacquer, decorated with floral scrolls and with large red (faded) silk cords and tassels, Japan, 1850–60 .

Labels and date

Wealthy women would keep their personal possessions in richly decorated lacquer boxes. This example contains hair combs, brushes for cleaning combs, and silvered and gilded paper used in styling hair. Specially commissioned sets of lacquer boxes and other items were often part of a bride’s trousseau.


Wood; Lacquer; Silk

Subjects depicted

Floral scrolls


Lacquerware; Hair and hairstyles; Containers


East Asia Collection

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