Exhibitions/ Art Object

江戸時代 蟹波蒔絵箱
Box with Crabs and Waves

Edo period (1615–1868)
17th century
Lacquered wood with gold hiramaki-e and e-nashiji on black lacquer ground
H. 6 3/4 in. (17.1 cm); W .6 in. (15.2 cm); L.12 1/2 in. (31.8 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Florence and Herbert Irving, 2015
Accession Number:
Not on view
The somewhat unusual shape of this box suggests that it might have been used to hold implements for painting, such as ink stones, brushes, and pigments. Variations in texture on the crab shells and in the rendering of the dramatic waves are a result of the different sizes and densities of the sprinkled gold, and of the various methods used to apply the gold powder. This box, with its bold and decorative design, could have been used by a well-to-do individual living in a cultural center such as Edo (present-day Tokyo)or Kyoto.
Florence and Herbert Irving , New York (until 2015; donated to MMA)
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