Box for Writing Implements

Ryukyuan, Japanese

Not On View

  • About the Artwork

    Please note: This section is empty

  • Markings

    Please note: This section is empty

    This section contains information about signatures, inscriptions and/or markings an object may have.

  • Provenance

    Please note: This section is empty

    Provenance is a record of an object's ownership. We are continually researching and updating this information to show a more accurate record and to ensure that this object was ethically and legally obtained.

    For more information on provenance and its important function in the museum, please visit:

  • Exhibition History

    Please note: This section is empty

    The exhibition history of a number of objects in our collection only begins after their acquisition by the museum, and may reflect an incomplete record.

    We welcome your feedback for correction and/or improvement.

  • Published References

    Please note: This section is empty

    We regularly update our object record as new research and findings emerge, and we welcome your feedback for correction and/or improvement.

  • Catalogue Raisonné

    Please note: This section is empty

    A catalogue raisonné is an annotated listing of artworks created by an artist across different media.

  • Credit Line for Reproduction

    Please note: This section is empty

    The credit line includes information about the object, such as the artist, title, date, and medium. Also listed is its ownership, the manner in which it was acquired, and its accession number. This information must be cited alongside the object whenever it is shown or reproduced.

About the Artwork

It is thought that boxes for writing implements, larger boxes for stationery, and tables were travel accessories for the feudal lords of southern Japan who controlled much of the trade between Japan and the Ryūkyū Islands to the south during the Edo period. Ryūkyūan lacquer craftsmen used locally harvested mother-of-pearl, prized for its superior color, to create inlaid works for patrons in the islands, China, and Japan. The pairing of squirrels with grapes is a visual pun for longevity. It was an exceedingly popular motif throughout East Asia in paintings and the decorative arts from the seventeenth century onward. Here the undulating edge of the writing box is a sensitive complement to the incised inlay intertwined with painted gold embellishment.

Box for Writing Implements

17th century

----------

----------

Japanese

Ryukyuan

Lacquer, wood, mother-of-pearl, gold

Overall: 2 3/8 × 8 1/2 × 10 1/2 inches (6 × 21.6 × 26.7 cm)

Lacquer

Asian Art

Founders Society Purchase with funds from Collins Holding Company, Mr. and Mrs. Charles M. Endicott and anonymous donor

81.683.A

This work is in the public domain.

Markings

------

Provenance

Okura sale, Christie's Tokyo, 15 Feb 1981, lot 435

For more information on provenance and its important function in the museum, please visit:

Provenance page

Exhibition History

Please note: This section is empty

The exhibition history of a number of objects in our collection only begins after their acquisition by the museum, and may reflect an incomplete record.

We welcome your feedback for correction and/or improvement.

Suggest Feedback

Published References

ORIENTAL LACQUER WORKS, Tokyo: Tokyo National Museum, 1977, fig 361.

COMMEMORATIVE CATALOGUE OF ORIENTAL LACQUER ARTS, Tokyo: Tokyo National Museum, 1977, fig 199.

Hirokazu, A., KOBIJUTSU 56, 1979, fig 8.

CHRISTIE'S AUCTION CATALOGUE, Feb 1981, Tokyo, lot 435.

DIA BULLETIN, vol 59, nos 2/3, 1981, pp 57-65, p 63 (ill).

Herbert, John (ed.), CHRISTIES REVIEW OF THE SEASON 1981, London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1981, p 389 (ill).

Mitchell, S.W., "The Asian Collection at the Detroit Institute of Arts", ORIENTATIONS, vol 13, no 5, May 1982, pp 14-36, fig 20.

Mitchell, S., "A portfolio of East Asian lacquers," APOLLO, vol 124, no 298, Dec., 1986, p 78, (ill).

Kindly share your feedback or any additional information, as this record is still a work in progress and may need further refinement.

Suggest Feedback

Catalogue Raisoneé

Please note: This section is empty

Credit Line for Reproduction

Ryukyuan, Japanese, Box for Writing Implements, 17th Century, Lacquer, wood, mother-of-pearl, gold. Detroit Institute of Arts, Founders Society Purchase with funds from Collins Holding Company, Mr. and Mrs. Charles M. Endicott, et al., 81.683.A.

Box for Writing Implements
Box for Writing Implements