Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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鼠扇蒔絵象嵌硯箱
Writing Box (suzuribako) with Mice and Fan

Artist:
School of Ogawa Haritsu (Ritsuō) (Japanese, 1663–1747)
Period:
Edo period (1615–1868)
Date:
18th century
Culture:
Japan
Medium:
Lacquered wood with gold, silver hiramaki-e, ceramic, mother-of-pearl, and pewter inlays on wood ground
Dimensions:
H. 1 3/4 in. (4.4 cm); W. 8 1/8 in. (20.6 cm); L. 10 1/8 in. (25.7 cm)
Classification:
Lacquer
Credit Line:
H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929
Accession Number:
29.100.703
Not on view
This box for writing implements presents a novel vision of nature and art that reveals the spirited wit of urban culture in the mid-Edo period. Three mice devour a fan that once opened to reveal a classic poem on beautifully decorated paper. The gusto with which they dispatch this traditional art form becomes clear when the box is opened to show the tail and hindquarters of one through the hole they've nibbled in the cover. Ogawa Haritsu was a man of many arts—painting, pottery, and haiku poetry in addition to lacquer. His work is distinctive for its use of other materials with lacquer, and his use of lacquer to ingeniously simulate other materials.
Marking: Inlaid seal of Ogawa Ritsuo "Kwan", red on white, on cover
Mrs. H. O. (Louisine W.) Havemeyer , New York (until d. 1929; bequeathed to MMA)
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