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Writing Box (Suzuribako) with Hydrangea at Night

Writing Box (Suzuribako) with Hydrangea at Night

夜紫陽花文硯箱

1930s

Lacquered wood and silver with gold, silver, and color sprinkled powder (maki-e)

5.4 x 23.1 x 25.3 cm (2 1/8 x 9 1/8 x 9 15/16 in.)

Lillian M. Kern Memorial Fund 2020.67

Location

Fun Fact

The moody, glamorous look of the box is an excellent example of Art Deco style in Japan.

Description

The close-up design and restrained stylization of the hydrangea-blossom motif on this writing box are part of Japan’s engagement with the international Art Deco movement. While Japanese designs were seen in general as exotic in European and North American iterations of Art Deco, in Japan subtle and not so subtle updating of classical imagery was a central feature.

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