Incense game box and pieces

unknown18th century AD

Royal Ontario Museum

Royal Ontario Museum
Toronto, Canada

Richly decorated lacquer objects figured prominently among the objects used in daily life by the elite. The principal method for decorating Japanese lacquer involves dusting the still-damp finish with powdered gold or silver. Practised from the eighth century on, maki-e (literally "sprinkled-picture") was refined to create several effects such as hira-maki-e (flat design), taka-maki-e (high relief design), and nashiji (pear-skin). Maki-e lacquer designs usually feature motifs from nature and scenic landscape, and often reflect the Japanese tradition of literary allusions. Maki-e decoration was applied to all kinds of objects used by the aristocracy and military elite: furniture, religious paraphernalia, tableware, and military gear. Europeans visiting Japan began collecting lacquered objects avidly as early as the mid-16th century, stimulating a robust export trade that endured into the early 20th century


  • Title: Incense game box and pieces
  • Creator: unknown
  • Date: 18th century AD
  • Location: Japan
  • Physical Dimensions: w18.2 x h14.8 cm
  • Type: Box
  • Rights: Royal Ontario Museum
  • Medium: Wood, with lacquer and Hira-maki-e gilding
  • Time period: Reign of Tokugawa, Edo Dynasty
  • Length: 22.5
  • Accession Number: 920.26.15.A-AG

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