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Book rest: MAR.O.168 & A-1912

Object information

Awaiting location update






Book rest, lacquer with silver metal mounts and handle. The book rest sits on a central upright attached to a rectangular base with a drawer (A) and is decorated in gold and silver. The nashiji (shimmering spangles) ground is decorated in takamakie (high-relief sprinkled design), hiramakie (low-relief sprinkled design) and heidatsu (cut sheet-gold or, as in this example, sheet-silver applied to a lacquer base) on the book rest with a prunus tree beside a stream with clouds overhead, and on the rectangular base with bamboo and prunus beside a stream. The edges are plain gold; the sides are decorated with formal flowers and scrolling foliage. The front of the drawer is similarly decorated and has a silver metal drop handle attached to three finely tooled flower heads. The central upright is decorated with scrolling flowers and fitted top and bottom with silver metal mounts which are finely tooled with scrolling foliage. The underside of the book rest, the interior of the drawer and the box are nashiji. The base is nashiji and there is a removable circular wooden plug crudely painted in gold, inserted in the centre of the base.

Legal notes

C.B. Marlay Bequest

Measurements and weight

Height: 57.0 cm
Length: 44.4 cm
Width: 25.4 cm

Relative size of this object

44.4 cm57 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)
19th century
Production date: circa AD 1820

Components of the work

Mounts, Handle composed of metal ( silver-coloured)
Plug composed of wood (plant material)
Decoration composed of silver

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production

Lacquering : Book rest, lacquer with silver metal mounts and handle, decorated in takamakie (high-relief sprinkled design), hiramakie (low-relief sprinkled design) and heidatsu (sheet-silver applied to lacquer base), interior of drawer and box, and base are nashiji (shimmering spangles) ground

Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: small brown luggage label

  • Text: Reading stand, about 1820. Genuine work, made for the Japanese market, though regarded in Japan as of a bad period. To be kept. O.C. Raphael, July, 1934. Marlay Bequest, 1912
  • Method of creation: Inscribed in black ink
  • Type: Label

Identification numbers

Accession number: MAR.O.168 & A-1912
Primary reference Number: 24258
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Wednesday 4 January 2017 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) "Book rest" Web page available at: Accessed: 2023-03-30 00:10:27

Citation for Wikipedia

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{{cite web|url= |title=Book rest |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2023-03-30 00:10:27|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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