Black lacquer writing-box


British Museum

British Museum

This writing-box is in the decorative tradition of Hon'ami Kōetsu of the Rimpa school. It is decorated with black lacquer with gold makie and shell and silver inlay. The inside of the lid is inlaid with copper foil and mother-of-pearl.

The huge silver moon, bottom left, has tarnished to a mellow brown which somehow contrasts gently with the pines. The inside of the lid has exquisitely dappled deer crying in autumn. The pine motif is repeated in the brush tray.

The box now contains an inkstone and a gilt-copper water-dropper.

Show lessRead more


  • Title: Black lacquer writing-box
  • Date Created: 1600/1699
  • Physical Dimensions: Width: 23.50cm; Depth: 21.00cm; Height: 4.50cm (with lid)
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Technique: lacquered; inlaid; maki-e; gilded
  • Subject: tree/bush; animal
  • Registration number: 1974,0513.8.a-b
  • Production place: Made in Japan
  • Producer: School of/style of Hon'ami Koetsu
  • Period/culture: Edo Period
  • Material: wood; mother-of-pearl; lacquer; gold; silver; stone; copper
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Donated by Garner, Harry M. Donated by Garner
Translate with Google