Fan-shaped kobako in two-story gold lacquer fundame. The interior of the two compartments and the underside of the kobako are in nashi-ji lacquer. The cover is decorated in hiramaki-e with a mountainous landscape on a gold background. Pine trees cling to the steep slopes while a waterfall flows into the river that borders the rocks. A lonely tori stands on top of a prominence. The underside of the lid represents the surface of a lake on a black background from which emerge two maki-e tree trunks with silver reliefs, while small silver-colored fish stir in the water. The sides of the kobako represent a mountain landscape bordered by a river, spanned by a wooden bridge. Wooden houses face each other on each bank. A lonely boat with two men on board floats with the waves.
Kobakos (“little boxes”) are often adorned with harmonious decors and sceneries inspired by Japanese fauna and flora. Japanese artists play with shapes and materials with accuracy and thoroughness akin to silverware.
The representation of lake landscapes bordered by mountains is frequent: Japan is an island country, but also mountainous. Very steep, located in the center of each island, mountains isolate Japanese landscapes. Most regions have their own symbolic and revered mountain, and climbing the mountains is a pilgrimage. It is thus usual to represent mountains giving way to small plains where the inhabitants dispute the ground with the rice fields and the lakes.
Japan – Edo period (1603-1868)
Height : 3.4 in – Length : 6.9 in – Width : 4.3 in