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Writing Box (Suzuribako) with Europeans

蒔絵南蛮人図硯箱

1800s
23 x 20.2 cm (9 1/16 x 7 15/16 in.)
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Did You Know?

The Japanese term nanban 南蛮 is used to describe designs like the one on this box.

Description

The two people on the left of this box lid's design are Portuguese traders, identifiable by their balloon-shaped pants. Facing them is a Jesuit priest in a long robe. Portuguese ships arrived in Japan in the 1540s. Imagery first made to document the appearance of the foreigners survived as decoration on later objects like this one.
Writing Box (Suzuribako) with Europeans

Writing Box (Suzuribako) with Europeans

1800s

Japan, Edo period (1615-1868)

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