Lacquer with mother–of–pearl and tortoiseshell inlay; H. 10 1/8 in. (25.8 cm), W. 7 5/8 in. (19.4 cm), L. 12 5/8 in. (32.1 cm)
Promised Gift of Florence and Herbert Irving (L.1996.47.132)
The black lacquer exterior of this box is decorated with mother-of-pearl inlaid in the form of simple floral scrolls and formal borders. Twisted metal wires make up the stems of the scrolls and frame the different zones of the decoration. Several of the circular disks of tortoiseshell inlay on the top surface, apparently lost, have been replaced by mother-of-pearl. The inside of the box is lined with red satin. A number of boxes nearly identical to this one in dimensions and decoration are known.
A notable feature of this piece and others of this type is the incorporation of gold powder sprinkled on the lacquer. The gold appears only in patches, however, probably because most of it was rubbed off when the surface was polished down after the mother-of-pearl and tortoiseshell were inlaid.