Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Tobacco Box

Period:
Meiji period (1868–1912)
Date:
19th century
Culture:
Japan
Medium:
Hammered iron with relief inlay in silver, gold and shibuichi
Dimensions:
H. 4 1/2 in. (11.4 cm); W. 2 3/4 in. (7 cm)
Classification:
Metalwork
Credit Line:
Edward C. Moore Collection, Bequest of Edward C. Moore, 1891
Accession Number:
91.1.1068
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.
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