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Box: MAR.O.75 & A-C-1912

Object information

Current Location: In storage






Lacquer box, suzuri-bako (box for writing utensils). Box, lacquer with silver metal rims. Rectangular box with a seated lid (A) The interior has a frame (B) containing an inset silver water pot and an inkstone (C). The black lacquer and mura-nashiji ground (nashiji with contrasting areas of densely and thinly packed gold flakes) is decorated in gold, red and silver-grey lacquer, inlaid eggshell and aogai (small pieces of blue-green inlaid shell) in takamakie (high-relief sprinkled design) with five dragon flies in flight. The dragon flies have intricately designed wings and bulbous eyes; one has purple and blue-green aogai wings, a gold body and gold eyes; one has black wings with gold markings, a gold body and purple inlaid eyes; a red lacquer dragonfly with black markings and aogai eyes; one has a black and gold body, wings inlaid with eggshell forming a white and gold crackle ground and inlaid purple shell eyes; the fifth has gold wings and aogai eyes. The mikayeshi (inside of the lid) has a partly black roiro (black lacquer polished to a deep gloss) and partly nashiji (shimmering spangles) ground and is decorated with a spider in his web watching a dragon fly with red and green wings which is trapped in the web. The removable tray is nashiji with an inset silver mizuire (water dropper); the sides of the inkstone are fundame (matt gold). The interior and the base are nashiji.

Legal notes

C.B. Marlay Bequest

Measurements and weight

Height: 2.6 cm
Length: 17.0 cm
Width: 15.4 cm

Relative size of this object

17 cm2.6 cm What does this represent?

Relative size of this object is displayed using code inspired by Good Form and Spectacle's work on the British Museum's Waddeson Bequest website and their dimension drawer. They chose a tennis ball to represent a universally sized object, from which you could envisage the size of an object.

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1912) by Marlay, Charles Brinsley


Edo (Japanese period, 1615-1868)
Circa 1700 - 1868

Components of the work

Rims composed of metal ( silver-coloured)
Decoration composed of shell (animal material) eggshell (animal material) gold

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production

Lacquering : Box, lacquer, with silver metal rims, black lacquer with a mura-nashiji ground (nashiji with contrasting areas of densely and thinly packed gold flakes), decorated with inlaid eggshell, lacquer and aogai (small pieces of inlaid blue-green shell) in takamakie (high-relief sprinkled design), the lid has a partly black roiro and partly nashiji ground, interior and base are nashiji

Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: white rectangular label with a grey border, under 958, two lines of character beneath, 'LH' is in red

  • Text: '958', 'LH'
  • Method of creation: Inscribed
  • Type: Label

Inscription present: similar label to above

  • Text: 958
  • Location: Base of inkstone
  • Type: Label

Identification numbers

Accession number: MAR.O.75 & A-C-1912
Primary reference Number: 24103
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Tuesday 4 February 2020 Last processed: Friday 21 May 2021

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

Citation for print

This record can be cited in the Harvard Bibliographic style using the text below:

The Fitzwilliam Museum (2023) "Box" Web page available at: Accessed: 2023-01-27 12:59:54

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