Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Basketry Box for Square Calligraphy Paper (Shikishibako) with Paulownia

Edo period (1615–1868)
early 17th century
Lacquered bamboo basketry with gold hiramaki-e
H. 2 1/8 in. (5.4 cm); W. 8 1/4 in. (21 cm); L. 8 5/8 in. (21.9 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Florence and Herbert Irving, 2015
Accession Number:
2015.500.2.35a, b
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 223
The light, durable bodies of Japanese lacquered basketry works (rantai shikki) were sometimes further decorated with designs in sprinkled gold powder (maki-e), transforming everyday objects into opulent treasures. This box, designed to hold square calligraphy paper (shikishi), bears large gold paulownia crests, a popular design from the late sixteenth to the early seventeenth century associated with the powerful warlord Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1536–1598).
[ Klaus F. Naumann , Tokyo, until 1988; sold to Irving] ; Florence and Herbert Irving , New York (1988–2015; donated to MMA)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "East Asian Lacquer from the Florence and Herbert Irving Collection," November 22, 1991–February 23, 1992.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Blossoms of Many Colors: A Selection from the Permanent Collection of Japanese Art," March 21, 2000–August 9, 2000.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Asian Lacquer: Masterpieces from the Florence and Herbert Irving Collection," November 3, 2007–May 11, 2008.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Japanese Bamboo Art: The Abbey Collection," June 13, 2017–February 4, 2018.

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