Lacquer pyx (sacrament box)


British Museum

British Museum

The namban ornament on this pyx is an example of how Japanese lacquer and makie artists adapted their skills to cater for European taste. The body of the box has a complicated all-over design of flowers and leaves. The decorative rim finished with metal on the lid is a European addition. On the top of the lid appear the initials IHS, the monogram of the Society of Jesus, the Jesuit brotherhood, who organized Catholic missionaries to Japan.

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  • Title: Lacquer pyx (sacrament box)
  • Date Created: 1550/1650
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 9.00cm (with lid); Diameter: 11.20cm
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Technique: lacquered; inlaid; maki-e
  • Subject: christianity
  • Registration number: 1969,0415.1
  • Production place: Made in Japan
  • Period/culture: Momoyama Period; Edo Period
  • Material: wood; bronze; mother-of-pearl; gold; lacquer
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Purchased from Bluett & Sons