Inkstone box, with scene from The Tale of Genji, Chapter 10

This lacquer box depicts in gold and silver maki-e a solitary noble person’s carriage in a deserted autumn field. The interior of the lid and base continue the theme of solitude associated with autumn, with a scene of pine trees along a shoreline with a silver crescent moon above. The box contains an inkstone and water-dropper in the form of a boat with waves lapping up the sides.

Historical period(s)
Edo period, 17th century
Medium
Lacquer on wood with gold and silver inlay; gilt silver; stone
Dimensions
H x W x D: 4.2 x 16.9 x 18.4 cm (1 5/8 x 6 5/8 x 7 1/4 in)
Geography
Japan
Credit Line
Purchase — funds provided by the bequest of Edith Ehrman
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F1991.9a-h
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Container, Lacquer
Type

Inkstone box

Keywords
autumn, boat, carriage, Edo period (1615 - 1868), Japan, pine tree, The Tale of Genji, WWII-era provenance
Provenance

T. B. Kitson [1]

Charles A. Greenfield, New York acquired from T.B. Kitson [2]

To 1991
Eskenazi Ltd., London, to 1991

From 1991
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from Eskenazi Ltd., London in 1991

Notes:

[1] According to Curatorial Note 4, Ann Yonemura, December 24, 1991, in object record

[2] See note 1.

Previous Owner(s)

Charles A. Greenfield
T. B. Kitson
Eskenazi Ltd. Founded 1923

Description

This lacquer box depicts in gold and silver maki-e a solitary noble person's carriage in a deserted autumn field. The interior of the lid and base continue the theme of solitude associated with autumn, with a scene of pine trees along a shoreline with a silver crescent moon above. The box contains an inkstone and water-dropper in the form of a boat with waves lapping up the sides.

Label

A profound sense of isolation pervades the scene of a nobleman's carriage resting in a field of grass. This scene and the interior motifs of a shoreline come from an episode in The Tale of Genji. Thick foils of gold and silver accentuate the gold and silver powders used in this design. An inkstone, trays for brushes and inksticks, and a water-dropper in the form of a boat are fitted inside the box.

Published References
  • Harold P. Stern. The Magnificent Three: Lacquer, Netsuke, and Tsube: Selections from the Collection of Charles A. Greenfield. Exh. cat. New York. .
  • Andrew J. Pikarik. Japanese Lacquer, 1600-1900: Selections from the Charles A. Greenfield Collection. Exh. cat. New York. .
  • Ideals of Beauty: Asian and American Art in the Freer and Sackler Galleries. Thames and Hudson World of Art London and Washington, 2010. p. 152.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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