Set of Inkstone Boxes and Qiangjin Case

Historical period(s)
16th century
Medium
Lacquer on wood, mother of pearl and gold
Dimensions
H x W x D (outer box): 30.6 x 23.8 x 21.4 cm (12 1/16 x 9 3/8 x 8 7/16 in)
Geography
Japan, Okinawa prefecture
Credit Line
Gift of Arthur M. Sackler
Collection
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
S1987.386.1a-b-.14a-c
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Container, Lacquer
Type

Inkstone box

Keywords
Japan, WWII-era provenance
Provenance
Provenance information is currently unavailable
Label

This container is comprised of thirteen stacked boxes to create a compact, portable unit. Each box contains an inkstone and acoutrements for writing, creating an ensemble to take on an outing to compose poetry and write calligraphy, a favorite pastime of the elite.


The stacked boxes indicate that there was exchange of lacquer techinques and motifs within Asia. The flowering plum-and-crescent moon is a Chinese motif, but details, such as the presence of the character that means "heaven," written on the bottom of some boxes, indicate that they were actually made in the Ryukyu Islands, once an independent kingdom and now part of Japan (modern-day Okinawa).

Published References
  • Lee Yu-kuan. Oriental Lacquer Art., 1st ed. New York. pp. 138-140.
  • et al. Asian Art in the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery: The Inaugural Gift. Washington, 1987. cat. 177, p. 268.
  • James C.Y. Watt, Barbara Brennan Ford. East Asian Lacquer: The Florence and Herbert Irving Collection. New York. pp. 331-333.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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