In Japan the chrysanthemum was appreciated beyond its association with the Double Nine Festival and the reclusive life of the poet Tao Yuanming (ad 365-427). The 16-layered chrysanthemum came to symbolize the Japanese imperial family after Emperor Gotoba (1180-1239) of the late Heian period chose the chrysanthemum as his personal emblem, applying the flower design to his sword and everyday utensils. This Box with Chrysanthemum Design proves that the flower pattern was also applied to lacquer wares as early as the Kamakura period. A similar piece is now in the collection of the Tokyo National Museum. [Seunghye Sun, Cleveland Museum of Art, (3/27-8/28/11); "The Lure of Painted Poetry"]
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