Incense storage box

Artist: Yamamura Shinya (Japan, born 1960)
Historical period(s)
Heisei era, 2010
Lacquer on wood with gold, silver powder and turban shell
H x W x D (assembled): 6.1 × 8.4 × 5.4 cm (2 3/8 × 3 5/16 × 2 1/8 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Gordon J. Brodfuehrer
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Container, Lacquer


Heisei era (1989 - present), incense, Japan, moon
Provenance research underway.

Yamamura Shinya specializes in creating lacquer objects in sleek, modern shapes and decorating them with a variety of techniques that reflect his mastery of makie (gold and silver) and fine linear inlay of iridescent shell. This incense container exemplifies the innovative design and technical refinement that this artist expresses in lacquer.

This incense container suggests the form and luminosity of the moon. Resting on a curved base, the small open compartment for incense is completely covered by the overlapping lid, which is decorated with fine strips of iridescent turban shell carefully selected for color ranging from violet to green and set in black lacquer to form a smooth, shimmering linear pattern. The interior of the base and lid are decorated with gold makie, a decorative technique employing gold or silver powders and particles to create surface effects or pictorial designs. The underside of the base has an uneven texture created by building up lacquer and other materials before applying powdered silver that is unpolished to suggest the surface of the dark side of the moon.

Collection Area(s)
Contemporary Art, Japanese Art
SI Usage Statement

Usage Conditions Apply

There are restrictions for re-using this image. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

The information presented on this website may be revised and updated at any time as ongoing research progresses or as otherwise warranted. Pending any such revisions and updates, information on this site may be incomplete or inaccurate or may contain typographical errors. Neither the Smithsonian nor its regents, officers, employees, or agents make any representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or timeliness of the information on the site. Use this site and the information provided on it subject to your own judgment. The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery welcome information that would augment or clarify the ownership history of objects in their collections.