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Lacquered wood with gold and silver sprinkled powder (maki-e), foil application (kirikane), and metal inlay
Overall: 22.8 x 26.7 cm (9 x 10 1/2 in.)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Newman T. Halvorson 1970.28
Stories in Japanese Art (Japanese art rotation)
The design of this box was inspired by an object in the 1639 lacquer wedding set of Chiyohime, the daughter of the shogun (ruler). Information about the set became available in the Meiji period, leading some lacquer artists to emulate its designs. This box features a scene from the chapter “First Song” (Hatsune) of the Tale of Genji, in which Prince Genji and his love Murasaki enjoy her garden. It incorporates the written characters for “first” (初, hatsu) and “sound” (音, ne), indicating the first song of the warbler in spring, associated with the new year—the water dropper for mixing the ink is in the shape of this bird.
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