Writing Box with Illustrated Books, Gold and silver maki-e on gold-sprinkled lacquer, Japan

絵本散し蒔絵硯箱
Writing Box with Illustrated Books

Period:
Meiji period (1868–1912)
Date:
19th century
Culture:
Japan
Medium:
Gold and silver maki-e on gold-sprinkled lacquer
Dimensions:
H. 1 15/16 in. (4.9 cm); W. 9 in. (22.9 cm); D. 9 13/16 in. (24.9 cm)
Classification:
Lacquer
Credit Line:
Bequest of Benjamin Altman, 1913
Accession Number:
14.40.842a–f
Not on view
The writing box (suzuri-bako) contains an inkstone and a water dropper, as well as an inner tray for writing implements. The lid is embellished with several illustrated characters that refer to the murmur of the river (see ill.). The frog is also associated with spring. In the kana preface of the Kokin wakashū by Ki no Tsurayuki, there is an often cited sentence: “The song of the warbler among the blossoms, the voice of the frog dwelling in the water—these teach us that every living creature sings.”
Benjamin Altman , New York (until d. 1913; bequeathed to MMA)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Courtly Romance in Japanese Art," May 12, 1989–July 12, 1989.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Arts of Japan," November 5, 1991–December 15, 1992.

Ithaca. Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University. "The Tale of Genji: Splendor and Innovation in Edo Culture," March 29, 1997–June 15, 1997.

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. "No Ordinary Mortals: The Human Figure in Japanese Art," 2007–2008.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Ukiyo-e Artists' Responses to Romantic Legends of Two Brothers: Narihira and Yukihira," March 27, 2008–June 8, 2008.