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Box: O.9 & A-L-1947

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Object information




Lacquer box, incense box and wooden box. Box, lacquered wood with aogai (small pieces of blue-green inlaid shell) and gold foil inlay. Square box with a wavy rim of eight points and an overhanging lid (A), the sides of which are cut away to form eight ruyi lappets. Inside is a tray (B) containing a circular box (C) and cover (D) surrounded by four shaped boxes (E, F, G, H) and covers (I, J, K, L). The roiro (black lacquer polished to a deep gloss) ground of the lid is inlaid with aogai and kirikane (metal foil cut to various shapes and individually set into a lacquer ground often as a mosaic) and decorated with two cranes beside bamboo and a pine tree. Each side is decorated in aogai and kirikane with a panel of aoi (Japanese name for malvaceous plant, of the mallow family) crests and scrolling foliage reserved on a diaper pattern ground beneath a circle and star pattern border. The rims are edged in gold and the inside is red lacquer. Each side of the lower section is decorated with a quatrefoil panel containing, alternately, peony, daisies and buddliah, camellia and chrysanthemum in aogai on a roiro ground reserved on a diaper pattern in aogai and kirikane. The base is roiro and the inside red lacquer with gold rims.
The wavy rim of the tray has eight points and is decorated with a diaper pattern border in aogai and kirikane, the sides are roiro and the inside red lacquer with two circular holes in the base. The small circular box is inlaid with aoi crests in aogai on a roiro ground within an aogai border and decorated with honeycomb pattern round the sides. The base is roiro and the inside red lacquer with gold rims. The four `segment' boxes are each decorated in aogai with a similar aoi crest design within a circular border on a roiro ground. The remainder of the lid and sides are decorated with various diaper patterns inlaid in aogai and kirikane. The bases are roiro and the insides red lacquer with gold rims.
The wooden box has a yellow ochre silk ribbon tie and the inscription on the lid in black ink reads `aogai' (two characters), `kiara' (aloes wood) (two characters), and the final character is a variant on `bako' (box). Inside is a square of purple silk with white running stitch along three sides and a square of blue, brown and cream checked silk backed with blue cotton.


History note: Bought Kyoto in 1908 from the collection of Mr Muda

Measurements and weight

Height: 13.7 cm
Length: 15.9 cm
Width: 15.6 cm

Relative size of this object

15.9 cm13.7 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 (1947) by Raphael, Oscar C.


Edo Period (1615-1868)
19th century
Circa 1800 - 1868 1868

Components of the work

Wooden Box: composed of black ink Box: composed of wood (plant material) Inlay: composed of shell (animal material) foil Inside Box: composed of silk (textile) Decoration:

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production

Lacquering : Box, lacquered wood and tray with aogai (small pieces of blue-green inlaid shell) and gold foil inlay, roiro (black lacquer polished to a deep gloss) and kirikane (metal foil cut to various shapes and individually set into a lacquer ground often as a mosaic); wooden box, inscribed in black ink, has a yellow ochre silk ribbon tie

Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: small brown luggage label attached to the ribbon tie on box

  • Text: O.9-1947
  • Method of creation: Inscribed
  • Label
  • Location: On silk cover

Identification numbers

Accession number: O.9 & A-L-1947
Primary reference Number: 24349
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Friday 13 January 2012 Last processed: Sunday 21 March 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 (2020) "Box" Web page available at: Accessed: 2021-11-28 02:43:36

Citation for Wikipedia

To cite this record on Wikipedia you can use this code snippet:

{{cite web|url=|title=Box|author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2021-11-28 02:43:36|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

Bootstrap HTML code for reuse

<div class="text-center my-3"> <figure class="figure"> <img src="" alt="box" class="img-fluid" /> <figcaption class="figure-caption text-info">box</figcaption> </figure> </div>

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