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Writing box

Writing box

  • Place of origin:

    Japan (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Lacquered wood, inlaid, mother-of-pearl, pottery

  • Museum number:

    W.272-1916

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

A writing box, such as this, would have been fitted with various implements utilised for writing from an ink stick, water dropper, ink stone and brushes. To prepare the ink some water would have been applied to the well at the end of ink stone by the water dropper. The ink stick would then be carefully dipped in the water and then slowly but firmly ground against the rough edge of the ink stone. Seen as a careful and meditative process, ink preparation took time and was finished only when the consistency of the ink reached the desired thickness. This left ample time for the individual to admire the box.
The owl imagery upon the box is unusual as the owl is often seen as a bird of ill-omen in Japanese culture.

Physical description

Writing box with cover depicting an owl, in relief, in an oak tree in coloured lacquers, pottery, mother-of-pearl and pewter on a black ground; around the sides of the cover are precious objects, auspicious characters and karakusa in low relief; black lacquer interior with lacquered inkstone and lacquered copper water vessel of archaic design.

Place of Origin

Japan (made)

Materials and Techniques

Lacquered wood, inlaid, mother-of-pearl, pottery

Dimensions

Height: 5 cm, Width: 17 cm, Depth: 29.5 cm

Descriptive line

Writing box with cover depicting an owl, in relief, in an oak tree in coloured lacquers, pottery, mother-of-pearl and pewter on a black ground; around the sides of the cover are precious objects, auspicious characters and karakusa in low relief; black lacquer interior with lacquered inkstone and lacquered copper water vessel of archaic design, Japan.

Materials

Wood; Lacquer; Ceramic; Mother of pearl

Techniques

Lacquering; Inlay

Categories

Lacquerware; Containers

Collection

East Asia Collection

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