Tiered lacquer picnic box


British Museum

British Museum

The four separate compartments of this tiered box would have contained rice, fish, vegetables and pickles. The exuberant design is reminiscent of paintings of the Rimpa school artist Sōtatsu and his successors, and typifies the exuberant urban taste of the Genroku era (1688-1704).

The box is decorated with black lacquer with gold hiramakie and shell inlay. In places silver powder has been mixed with the gold to give a paler effect. Again, for variety some of the poppy petals have been polished revealing the gold flakes suspended below the surface of the lacquer, to give the nashiji effect.

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  • Title: Tiered lacquer picnic box
  • Date Created: 1650/1699
  • Physical Dimensions: Width: 23.00cm; Depth: 20.50cm; Height: 27.20cm (with lid)
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Technique: lacquered; nashiji; inlaid; hiramakie
  • Subject: flower
  • Registration number: 1945,1017.487
  • Production place: Made in Japan
  • Producer: School of/style of Sotatsu, Tawaraya
  • Period/culture: Genroku Era
  • Material: wood; mother-of-pearl; lacquer; gold; silver
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Bequeathed by Raphael, Oscar Charles