square writing box with golden wave pattern surrounding a bridge with mother-of-pearl supports; inside: pewter, gold, and mother-of-pearl swans on golden bank with eddies; design of swans inside around ink stone

Writing box with bridge and waves, 18th century

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This lidded box is a suzuribako, a box designed to hold an assortment of writing tools, including an inkstone, water dropper, ink sticks, an ink-stick holder, and brushes. The lid features a design of an arched bridge rendered in inlaid metals and mother-of-pearl over rough waves, made by applying powdered gold. These motifs may refer to the famous bridge over the Uji River in the town of Uji, a site celebrated in poetry since the 700s and used by Murasaki Shikibu as a setting for parts of her Tale of Genji. The inside of this box features an unrelated design of geese on a beach. The original inkstone and water dropper remain intact.

Details
Title
Writing box with bridge and waves
Role
Artist
Accession Number
2015.79.395a-e
Provenance
Gallery Hosomi Kokōan
Catalogue Raisonne
Murase, Art through a Lifetime, no. 761
Curator Approved

This record has been reviewed by our curatorial staff but may be incomplete. These records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@artsmia.org.

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square writing box with golden wave pattern surrounding a bridge with mother-of-pearl supports; inside: pewter, gold, and mother-of-pearl swans on golden bank with eddies; design of swans inside around ink stone