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Writing Box

Writing Box

  • Place of origin:

    Japan (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1860 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Ikeda Taishin, born 1825 - died 1903 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Carved wood with lacquer decoration in <i>takamaki-e</i> (high sprinkled picture) and <i>togidashi-e</i> (polished out picture).

  • Museum number:

    FE.6C-1984

  • Gallery location:

    Japan, room 45, case 13

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The ingenuity of this piece by Ikeda Taishin (1825-1903) is due to the wide range of techniques implemented upon the box and the striking use of traditional imagery. The box depicts dandelion and spring plants on an exaggerated wood grained background. This graining was achieved through hot sand abrasion upon the wood. The wood grained background together with the inlaid shell and pewter, used to create the foliage and insects, creates a striking but harmonious design with distinctive features.
Similar to the famed lacquer styles of the artists Honami Koetsu (1558-1637) and Ogata Korin (1658-1716), Ikeda Taishin has used several materials to effectively depict a simple motif, in this case spring plants. Despite being a simple composition the use of gold, lacquer and mother of pearl creates a naturalistic effect that contrasts with the worn wood background. The use of shell is a common feature of the Korin style. Due to the influence of realism in Chinese painting during the late 18th century Japanese lacquer artists began to adopt a more naturalistic approach in their work.

Physical description

This is a box for writing utensils, the contents includes an inkstone, water droopper, knife and two brushes.
[Tray] The tray has a removable board, filling all of the base, with a slight depression to take the inkstone and with a butterfly-shaped silver fitting for the waterdropper. Upper surface fairly dense gold nashiji and hirame, sides, base and inkstone depression with sparser gold flakes, all on a black background.
[Ink stone] The inkston has gold lacquered sides and rim, with rounded corners
[Water dropper] This water dropper is silver, formed as a butterfly with outstrecthed wings, the hole at one wing tip.
[knife (cutting tool)] The handle of the knife is gold nashiji and hirame on black lacquer, silver aikuchi fittings, steel blade signed 'Fujiwara no Sadakiyo saku'
[Scabbard] The sheath of the knife is gold nashiji and hirame on black lacquer, silver aikuchi fittings.
[Brush] The brush handle is gold nashiji and hirame on black lacquer.
[Lid] The brush cover is gold nashiji and hirame on black lacquer.
[Brush] The brush handle is gold nashiji and hirame on black lacquer.
[Lid] The brush cover is gold nashiji and hirame on black lacquer.

Place of Origin

Japan (made)

Date

ca. 1860 (made)

Artist/maker

Ikeda Taishin, born 1825 - died 1903 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Carved wood with lacquer decoration in takamaki-e (high sprinkled picture) and togidashi-e (polished out picture).

Dimensions

Height: 4.6 cm, Width: 18.1 cm

Descriptive line

Box for writing utensils in lacquered wood decorated with a depiction of spring plants and butterflies, by Ikeda Taishin (1825-1903), Japan, c.1960.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

J. Earle (Editor), Japanese Art & Design; the Toshiba Gallery Guide, , (V&A, 1986). Photograph on p. 72&73

Materials

Gold; Wood; Steel; Lacquer

Techniques

Lacquering

Categories

Containers; Lacquerware

Collection code

EAS

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Qr_O456888
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