Round Box with Design of Bugaku Dance Hat and Musical Instrument, Yamada Jōkasai (1681–1704), Lacquer on wood with gold, mother-of-pearl inlay, and colored lacquer, Japan

Round Box with Design of Bugaku Dance Hat and Musical Instrument

Artist:
Yamada Jōkasai (1681–1704)
Period:
Edo period (1615–1868)
Date:
19th century
Culture:
Japan
Medium:
Lacquer on wood with gold, mother-of-pearl inlay, and colored lacquer
Dimensions:
H. 1 3/8 in. (3.5 cm); Diam. 3 in. (7.6 cm)
Classification:
Lacquer
Credit Line:
The Howard Mansfield Collection, Purchase, Rogers Fund, 1936
Accession Number:
36.100.159a, b
Not on view
The meticulously crafted images of a brocade hat and mouth organ that adorn this box resonate multiple auspicious associations. The hat bears a medallion depicting a phoenix, and its shape suggests the head of this fabled bird of ancient Chinese legend, said to appear only during a just reign. It is worn in the Bugaku dance Manzairaku (Happiness of Ten Thousand Years) by dancers whose graceful movements in large-sleeved robes of brilliant red evoke the appearance of the phoenix. The shape of the mouth organ resembles a phoenix resting with folded wings, and its tone lends an ethereal harmony to the dance's musical accompaniment. Together they signal the august aura of the imperial court and the legacy of ancient China, where these legends, dances, and music originated.
Signature: Jokasai
Howard Mansfield , New York (until 1936; sold to MMA)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Noh Robes," 1993.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Resonant Image: Tradition in Japanese Art (Part One)," 1997–98.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Enlightening Pursuits," February 28, 2001–August 5, 2001.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Poetry and Travel in Japanese Art," December 18, 2008–May 31, 2009.