Edward C. Moore Collection, Bequest of Edward C. Moore, 1891
Not on view
The five distinct geometric patterns on this box are composed of extraordinarily small, thin fragments of pearl shell. This is a refined version of the technique of inlaying mother-of-pearl into a black lacquer surface that was developed in the twelfth century. Fragments of pearl shell were sometimes tinted or painted on the back to enhance their natural colors, such as pink and green.