cherry blossom motif on outside; four figures with exaggerated features on interior of lid against checkered background; two figures with large noses and ears against checkered background on small tray; square water dropper

Writing box with Nanban figures, 1633

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Fallen cherry blossoms, rendered in gold and silver, adorn the outside surface of the lid of this black lacquered writing box. A writing box contains the tools necessary for the brush arts of calligraphy and ink painting, including an inkstone and water dropper. The underside of the lid and the interior of the box feature a group of Portuguese men, with their distinctive pantaloons and hats. The dark-skinned individuals may be African or Indian. The figural group appears on a black lacquer and silver foil checkered background inspired by European designs. After nearly four hundred years of use and display, some of the inlaid silver squares have fallen off.

Exhibitions
Details
Title
Writing box with Nanban figures
Role
Artist
Accession Number
2015.79.386a-e
Provenance
Manno Art Museum (unitl 2002); London Gallery; Mary Burke (2002-2015)
Catalogue Raisonne
Murase, Art through a Lifetime, no. 748
Curator Approved

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cherry blossom motif on outside; four figures with exaggerated features on interior of lid against checkered background; two figures with large noses and ears against checkered background on small tray; square water dropper