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Writing Box with Illustrated Books

Period:
Meiji period (1868–1912)
Date:
19th century
Culture:
Japan
Medium:
Gold and silver maki-e on gold-sprinkled lacquer
Dimensions:
H. 1 15/16 in. (4.9 cm); W. 9 in. (22.9 cm); D. 9 13/16 in. (24.9 cm)
Classification:
Lacquer
Credit Line:
Bequest of Benjamin Altman, 1913
Accession Number:
14.40.842a–f
  • Description

    The writing box (suzuri-bako) contains an inkstone and a water dropper, as well as an inner tray for writing implements. The lid is embellished with several illustrated characters that refer to the murmur of the river (see ill.). The frog is also associated with spring. In the kana preface of the Kokin wakashū by Ki no Tsurayuki, there is an often cited sentence: “The song of the warbler among the blossoms, the voice of the frog dwelling in the water—these teach us that every living creature sings.”

  • See also
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
53829:12

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