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Box: MAR.O.77 & A-1912

Object information

Awaiting location update






Box, lacquer. Rectangular box with shallow sides and a seated lid (A). The black ground is speckled with gold of varying density and decorated in gold, silver-grey, brown, red and aogai (small pieces of blue-green inlaid shell) to resemble a book. On the top left corner of the lid is the book title (Third Chapter of Genji) in gold characters reserved on a black ground speckled with gold in a rectangular panel. Around the book title are rushes and plantain leaves and to the lower left is a spray of red and gold Chinese bellflower (kikyo) and bush-clover (hagi). The sides are decorated with fine horizontal gold lines simulating a book with aogai corners and red bindings. The base is decorated with irises in gold and grey and red berried shrubs on a black and gold speckled ground. The inside of the lid is decorated with a spray of red carnations and an inscription in gold 'Love is as bright as Spring's first day and as light as the breeze then blowing; love is as pure as the flowers yet burns fiercer far than the flame o`er the river flowing', on a black ground powdered with gold. The inside of the lower section is decorated with sticks and a red flame burning in a wicker basket suspended over a winding river with rocks and carnations and hills beyond on a black and gold powdered ground.

Legal notes

C.B. Marlay Bequest

Measurements and weight

Height: 1.8 cm
Length: 10.7 cm
Width: 7.6 cm

Relative size of this object

10.7 cm1.8 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

Decoration composed of shell (animal material)

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production

Lacquering : Box, lacquer, decorated with aogai (small pieces of blue-green inlaid shell)

Identification numbers

Accession number: MAR.O.77 & A-1912
Primary reference Number: 24121
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Friday 13 January 2012 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 (2022) "Box" Web page available at: Accessed: 2022-12-05 17:36:08

Citation for Wikipedia

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{{cite web|url= |title=Box |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2022-12-05 17:36:08|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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