Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Hand-towel Rack (Tenugui kake) with Chrysanthemums and Meandering Stream

Edo period (1615–1868)
18th century
Gold and silver maki-e on lacquered wood
H. 22 1/2 in. (57.2 cm); W. 23 3/4 in. (60.3 cm); D. 9 1/4 in. (23.5 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Friends of Asian Art Gifts, 2005
Accession Number:
2005.121a, b
Not on view
The motif of chrysanthemums on a stream recalls the auspicious story of a mythical Chinese river whose water, sweetened by dewdrops from the chrysanthemums growing alongside it, imparts eternal life to anyone who drinks it. The lacquered surface of this small rack is decorated in the “pear skin” (nashiji) technique, in which small flecks of sprinkled gold densely cover the ground area. The rack must have been made as part of a wedding trousseau, as it features two superimposed family crests, one of plum blossoms and the other of nine stars.
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