Letter Box

ca. 1700-1775 (made)
Letter Box thumbnail 1
Letter Box thumbnail 2
+9
images
Not currently on display at the V&A

Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Box and lid for letters (fubako), of rectangular form and with bevelled edges, a removeable inner tray and a loose board (both in plain black lacquer) within the tray, wood covered in roiro (black lacquer polished to a deep gloss) with pine trees and bamboo at the water's edge, together with randomly scattered mon (family crests), that of the Abe family with two crossed feathers in a circle, and the other with three oak leaves in a circle in gold hiramaki-e (metal powder sprinkled on to a lacquer design before it has hardened so that it is in low relief) and takamaki-e (maki-e in which parts of the design are raised by adding clay or charcoal powder), with kirikane (metal foil cut to various shapes and individually set into lacquer, often as a mosaic) and gold foil (kinpaku); two gilt copper attachment points, one on either side of the base and decorated with two crossed feathers with a ring to which a very faded red silk tying cord and tassel is attached. The interior and underside are in roiro black lacquer.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 4 parts.

  • Letter Box
  • Lid
  • Tray
  • Insert
Materials and Techniques
Wood covered in <i>roiro </i>(black lacquer polished to a deep gloss), with gold <i>hiramaki-e</i> (metal powder sprinkled on to a lacquer design before it has hardened so that it is in low relief) and <i>takamaki-e</i> (<i>maki-e</i> in which parts of the design are raised by adding clay or charcoal powder), with <i>kirikane</i> (metal foil cut to various shapes and individually set into lacquer, often as a mosaic, gold foil (<i>kinpaku</i>) and two gilt copper attachment points, red silk tying cords and tassels.
Brief Description
Rectangular box for letters with inner tray and loose board, wood covered in black lacquer, with pine trees and bamboo at the water's edge and with two family crests in gold lacquer; two gilt copper fittings and red silk tying cords, Japan, ca. 1700-1775
Physical Description
Box and lid for letters (fubako), of rectangular form and with bevelled edges, a removeable inner tray and a loose board (both in plain black lacquer) within the tray, wood covered in roiro (black lacquer polished to a deep gloss) with pine trees and bamboo at the water's edge, together with randomly scattered mon (family crests), that of the Abe family with two crossed feathers in a circle, and the other with three oak leaves in a circle in gold hiramaki-e (metal powder sprinkled on to a lacquer design before it has hardened so that it is in low relief) and takamaki-e (maki-e in which parts of the design are raised by adding clay or charcoal powder), with kirikane (metal foil cut to various shapes and individually set into lacquer, often as a mosaic) and gold foil (kinpaku); two gilt copper attachment points, one on either side of the base and decorated with two crossed feathers with a ring to which a very faded red silk tying cord and tassel is attached. The interior and underside are in roiro black lacquer.
Dimensions
  • Depth: 3 1/4in (Note: Measurements taken from the registers and converted from inches)
  • Width: 3 8/16in
  • Height: 15 4/16in
Style
Gallery Label
Box for letters Wood covered in black lacquer with gold hiramaki-e lacquer and foil Pine and bamboo with family badges About 1760-1770 W.267-1916 Alexander Gift The badges are probably those of the Makino and Abe families. A daughter of Makino Yasuchika (1707-1784) married Abe Yukie Masayori, who was aged 28 in 1774. This cabinet may have been part of the set of furniture given to her on that occasion.
Credit line
Given by the Misses Alexander
Object history
V&A Strange catalogue (1924) no. 126
Subjects depicted
Collection
Accession Number
W.267:1-1916

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record createdJune 25, 2009
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