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

Suzuri-bako (writing case), late 17th–early 18th century, 1925.12

Ogata Korin
Japanese, 1658–1716
Suzuri-bako (writing case), late 17th–early 18th century
wood, gold & silver maki-e and inlay on lacquer ground
Gift of Helen W. Merrill (Mrs. Earle A., Bowdoin Class of 1889)
1925.12

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 the most prominent artists of his day, designed the box. The fabrication would have been left to lacquer craftsmen who were highly skilled in the time-consuming application of numerous coats of thinly applied tree sap. The “sprinkled design,” or maki-e, seen in between the folds of the stream, is made by embedding flakes of gold and silver leaf into a still-wet layer of lacquer.

Suzuri-bako (writing case), late 17th–early 18th century, 1925.12

Ogata Korin
Japanese, 1658–1716
Suzuri-bako (writing case), late 17th–early 18th century
Gift of Helen W. Merrill (Mrs. Earle A., Bowdoin Class of 1889)
1925.12