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Antique Japanese Early Edo c.1600's 5 Layer Lidded Lacquer Makie Jubako Bento Box w/ Documentation

Antique Japanese Early Edo c.1600's 5 Layer Lidded Lacquer Makie Jubako Bento Box w/ Documentation

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A truly magnificent artifact from the early Edo period (1596-1868). This is a 5 tiered, Black Lacquered Maki-e Bento box referred to as a "tsu-Bako" A box to bring gifts of food on NewYears or other occasion. This Tsu-bako was certainly used for that purpose. when transporting these boxes the whole stack would have been wrapped in a big silk cloth and knotted at the top. This knot would provide a kind of handle for easy carrying. The wear on the lid matches where the silk cloth knot would have rubbed off the gold maki-e dust exposing the traditional red line lacquer used to catch the gold dust.

Most of the images below have been shot in candle light to reveal the multiple shades and reflections of gold used in the creation of this artifact. In the essay by Jun Ichiro Tanizaki "In Praise of Shadows" published in 1933, Tanizaki Describes his experience of his life in Tokyo transitioning from the use of flame based light to electric light. He describes that the subtlety and dignity found in the Japanese arts featuring bright reflective metallic threads and lacquers along with bright colors, where ones which westerners would consider garish. This, according to Tanizaki, is due in part to the fact that those items where never designed to be seen under electric light. Only by candle light or the light of the sun.

Under this principal we here at Shoguns Gallery have experimented with lighting our older items in candle light to explore this subtlety to grate effect. You can now see what the original craftsmen would have intended with his work. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Having been used lovingly and stored for most of that past century, it remains in good condition. Note some minor nicks and chips of the original lacquer finish that have occurred over the last 400 years (see pictures). It measures about 10 3/4" by 10  3/4" by 18" tall (19.5 x 19 x 7 cm) stacked together. This artifact is a museum quality piece and may become the crown jewel of your collection.

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