Lacquered wood with gold and silver takamaki–e, hiramaki–e, togidashimaki–e, cut–out gold foil on nashiji ground (part of a wedding set); 4 1/4 x 4 5/8 x 15 1/4 in. (10.8 x 11.7 x 38.8 cm)
Hewitt Fund, 1910 (10.7.22)
The letter box is part of a late Edo period wedding set that consists of thirty-one items (10.7.1–10.7.31). The set was made to commemorate a wedding between two high-ranking families, the Shimazu and Matsudaira clans. The elegant trousseau is decorated with auspicious symbols, pine, bamboo, and cherry blossoms as well as the two family crests executed in various “sprinkled picture” (maki-e) techniques. The set includes cosmetic- and incense-related utensils, stationary items and also letter boxes (fubako). The elongated boxes were used to send and receive correspondence or documents. From the early Edo period (1615–1868) letter boxes became part of the wedding trousseau.