Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Tobacco Box

Meiji period (1868–1912)
19th century
Hammered iron with relief inlay in silver, gold and shibuichi
H. 4 1/2 in. (11.4 cm); W. 2 3/4 in. (7 cm)
Credit Line:
Edward C. Moore Collection, Bequest of Edward C. Moore, 1891
Accession Number:
Not on view
Natural forms and textures are keenly observed and translated into metal in this exquisitely fashioned box designed to fit the pockets of Western waistcoats and jackets that began to be worn in Japan in the late 1870s. Its surfaces are hammered to simulate weathered lily-pads and other forms of pond life in astonishing detail. The hinge is disguised as the long body of a dragonfly; the clasp opens by pressing a tiny silver knob in the shape of a snail. A striped frog in high relief is inlaid on the surface, its colorful smooth, wet skin rendered in several alloys of copper and silver with gold accents. Skilled chiseling gives the leaping toad nearby its characteristic rough, dry skin.
Related Objects

Stacked Food Box (Jūbako) with Taro Plants and Chrysanthemums

Artist: Shibata Zeshin (Japanese, 1807–1891) Date: mid-19th century Medium: Lacquered wood, gold and silver hiramaki-e, takamaki-e, and colored togidashimaki-e Accession: 2015.300.289a–g On view in:Not on view

Shino Teabowl with Bridge and House, known as “Bridge of the Gods” (Shinkyō)

Date: late 16th century Medium: Glazed stoneware with design painted in iron oxide (Mino ware, Shino type) Accession: 2015.300.271 On view in:Gallery 228

Platter (Ōzara) with Pine Tree

Date: early 17th century Medium: Stoneware with underglaze iron oxide decoration (Hizen ware, Karatsu type) Accession: 2015.300.266 On view in:Gallery 229

Six of the Twelve Divine Generals (Jūni shinshō)

Date: 14th century Medium: Wood with lacquer, color, gold, and inlaid crystal eyes Accession: 2015.300.254a–f On view in:Gallery 224

Guardian Lion-Dogs

Date: mid-13th century Medium: Japanese cypress with lacquer, gold leaf, and color Accession: 2015.300.257a, b On view in:Gallery 223