Writing Box (Suzuribako) with “Dream in Naniwa” Design


Not on view

Writing boxes hold an inkstone (suzuri), a water dropper, and writing brushes. As with this example, they are often decorated with images featuring literary references. This box is embellished with a design referring to Naniwa (present-day Osaka), one of the famous scenic spots of Japan. The poem depicted on its exterior and inscribed on the lids’s interior is from New Collection of Poems Ancient and Modern (Shin kokin wakashū, ca. 1206).

Tsu no kuni no
Naniwa no haru wa
yume nare ya Ashi no kareha ni
kaze wataru nari

Was spring at Naniwa
in Tsu Province
a dream?
Wind blows over the
withered reeds’ leaves.
—Trans. Haruo Shirane

Writing Box (Suzuribako) with “Dream in Naniwa” Design, Lacquered wood with gold, silver takamaki-e, hiramaki-e, and silver inlay, Japan

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