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A Japanese lacquer box with cover


Probably Kyoto, late 17th century


The box and cover identically decorated with raised gold hiramaki-e and nashiji of two rings of stylised flower-heads over nine panels enclosing leaves and flower-buds on a black lacquer ground, the interior with nashiji decoration and gold rings.

H. 9.5 x diam. 15.2 cm


The Soame Jenyn’s Collection of Japanese and Chinese Art


Roger Soame Jenyns (1904-1976) was a legendary figure in the field of Chinese and Japanese art. He was an esteemed British art historian, collector and connoisseur. After his education at Eton and Cambridge, he joined the HongKong Civil Service in 1926, where he became a valuable contributor to the newly established journal The HongKong Naturalist.

In 1931 Jenyns returned to England to take up a job at the British Museum as Assistant Keeper of Oriental Antiquities. In 1935 he published a well-received book on Chinese painting and subsequently he authorised several books on Chinese jades, ceramics and export art. In the 1960s he left London for Japan with the aim of writing a book on Japanese lacquer which he unfortunately never completed. His collection was built throughout his lifetime and remained within the family until recently.

This type of covered bowl, ordered by the Dutch in Deshima, is very rare, and a similar shaped covered bowl is in the collection of the Peabody Essex Museum (inv. AE 89577).

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