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Suzuri-bako (writing case), late 17th–early 18th century

This Japanese writing case comprises a brush compartment, a stone for grinding and mixing ink, and a small pot for water. During the Edo Period (1603–1867), most literate people in Japan owned a writing case, though the quality of the craftsmanship would vary according to the socioeconomic standing of the owner. Ogata Korin, one of […]

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Japanese Lunchbox Set, 1600–1867

Lacquer has been used in the arts of Japan for over 6,000 years. Created from the viscous sap of the urushi tree, the raw toxic material is processed into safe, durable, and luminous surfaces for objects such as this tiered lunchbox. The pleasures of the consumption of food are enhanced by the aesthetic enjoyment offered […]

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Unlocking Secrets of a Seventeenth Century German Door Fitting

By Kiyomi Mino ‘16, Student Assistant to the Curator In today’s society, sleek and discrete high tech devices controlled by complex computer coding and identity verification systems ensure that only those with special approval have access to privileged places. While today’s “locks” purposely have an inconspicuous design so as not to attract the attention of […]

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Nathaniel Hawthorne’s copy of the Laws of Bowdoin College

The Laws of Bowdoin College were published for two purposes: to publicize the rules and regulations for administering the College, and to convey to students how they were expected to conduct themselves within the College community. As such, the Laws served both as a summary of the College by-laws and as a student handbook. Although […]