Formal Stand. 18th - 19th century. Wood; lacquer. Japan. The stand served to display flower arrangements or incense burners in the tokonoma, the alcove in traditional Japanese houses. NationalMuseum of Ethnology, Leiden, the Netherlands
woven obi / detail
Chromolithograph of “Tiger From Life” from a painting by Kiuho Toyei (19th century, Japan)
This is the crest of the Tokugawa—the ruling shogunal family of the Edo period (1603-1868). It’s on one of the old gates Zōjō-ji temple complex- the Niten gate of Yūshōin, Tokugawa Ietsugu’s mausoleum, in the Shiba area of Minato-ku, Tokyo. Text and photography by Rekishi no Tabi on Flickr
(Source: Flickr / rekishinotabi)
Young woman holding flowers. Ukiyo-e woodblock print. About 1760,s by artist Torii Kiyohiro.
Japanese National Treasure, Hanka Shiyui statue, 7th century AD, Japan. 半跏思惟像（中宮寺）.
Leaf manipulation in Ikebana flower decor. Japan
The starlike geometric design [above] resembles the popular abstract hemp-leaf (asa no ha) pattern. Bright primary colors and strong black lines modernize the traditional pattern, transforming it into a dramatic geometric composition with a three-dimensional effect. The vertical stripes can be interpreted as the fast-growing and long, strong stalks of the hemp plant, which is an auspicious motif signifying vigor and resilience. Woman’s Kimono with Abstract Hemp-Leaf Pattern. Japan, early Shōwa period (1926-89), c. 1935. Photo and caption courtesy Museum Associates/LACMA. Text by Mallika Rao, The Huffington Post, July 8, 2014
Vase in the form of a small gourd with a section of scrolling vine and leaves, on which crawls a ladybug. The vase of uchidashi or hammered and assembled iron, the larger vine of shibuichi hammered and cold-chiseled, the curling tendrils of hammered and twisted silver, the upper leaf of hammered and cold-chiseled iron and the lower leaf of hammered and cold-chiseled shibuichi inlaid in gold, the ladybug of shakudō inlaid in red bronze and silver, the eyes of gold. Signed on the back with a chiseled signature by the artist: Shōami, and then with an inlaid, carved gold seal: Katsuyoshi (Shōami Katsuyoshi, 1832 – 1908). Meiji 9 or 1876
Box in the form of a crane. Lacquer on wood, inlaid with mother-of-pearl . 18th century, Japan by unknown artist. Rijksmuseum
The body of this crane is hollow; the upper part rests on the main section and serves as a lid. The wooden box is covered in thin layers of lacquer, a typical product of East Asia. Lacquer is the resin of the Rhus vernicifera or lacquer tree. It was used in Japan, China and Korea to embellish wooden boxes, furniture and screens, normally in combination with dyes and mother-of-pearl. Lacquer is applied in layers - often a great number. For lustre, durability and tenacity, ‘genuine’ lacquer work is far superior to any Western imitations. The lacquering is inlaid with pieces of mother-of-pearl, which are arranged in such a way that they accurately represent the bird’s plumage. For instance, the artist has used red-coloured pieces to indicate the typical red marking on the crane’s head. This costly lacquered box was produced in Japan in the eighteenth century, probably as part of a dowry.
History of the Object
Dowry - In Japan, lacquer was often used for boxes in which clothing, make-up, incense and writing accessories were stored. Sets of a particular number of boxes were often presented as a dowry. The labour-intensive production technique meant that originally only noblemen and highly-placed warriors were able to order such sets. From the sixteenth century, the number of prosperous merchants who could afford to buy lacquerware grew steadily. The crane was itself probably once a wedding present. The crane is seen in Japan as a symbol of long life and of fidelity in marriage: the bird is monogamous and will even remain faithful to a sick partner.