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Writing box

Writing box

  • Place of origin:

    Japan (made)

  • Date:

    1775-1850 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Kajikawa (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Wood covered in silver, gold, red and black lacquer

  • Credit Line:

    From the Sir Edward David Stern collection

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Japan, Room 45, The Toshiba Gallery, case 13 []

Physical description

Writing box (suzuribako) decorated with three samurai being entertained by a male and female koto player while being looked after by several women on a balcony jutting out into water with a backdrop of a folding screen decorated with birds on different tree branches, and surrounded by a couple of weeping willow trees, with passers-by in the foreground in the bottom right-hand corner looking at the scene in gold, red, silver and black togidashi maki-e ('polished out maki-e') lacquer inlaid with shell on a silver lacquer ground. The inside of the lid and base depict a flowering wisteria and the top of a bamboo plant in the bottom centre in gold on black togidashi maki-e lacquer lightly sprinkled with small gold powder; the frame which holds an inkstone in the centre and a gilt metal water-dropper in the form of swirling water, is decorated with the tops of bamboo in the lower centre, linking up with the bamboo in a similar position on the inside of the lid, in gold togidashi maki-e lacquer on a black lacquer ground; the bottom left-hand corner of the frame is inscribed 'Kajikawa saku' (made by Kajikawa) in gold hiramaki-e lacquer with a red-pot seal. The underside of the box is of black lacquer lightly sprinkled with gold powder.

Place of Origin

Japan (made)


1775-1850 (made)


Kajikawa (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Wood covered in silver, gold, red and black lacquer

Marks and inscriptions

Kajikawa saku
Made by Kajikawa


Length: 19.37 cm, Height: 3.5 cm

Descriptive line

Writing box, samurai and entertainers by water with passers-by in the foreground in gold, red, silver and black lacquer on silver lacquer, signed Kajikawa, 1775-1850.


Wood; Lacquer

Subjects depicted

Entertainment; People; Bamboo; Wisteria


Lacquerware; Containers; Writing


East Asia Collection

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