A LARGE JAPANESE TRANSITIONAL LACQUER CHEST WITH GILT-METAL MOUNTS
Edo period, early 17th century
The rectangular chest with flat hinged lid decorated in gold, silver, and red lacquer, hiramaki-e, takamaki-e, kirikane and nashiji, the top decorated in the Transition style in gold, silver and red lacquer with two cockerels within an ovoid cartouche, the front with butterflies in a rocky landscape with pumpkin plants within a cartouche and the sides with plants, all within painted narrow chequered borders, with gilt metal mounts, lockplate and hinges.
H. 47 x W. 89.5 x D. 48.5 cm
This chest belongs to a group of lacquer known as the “Transitional” style, which is believed to have started in the 1630s and lasted for about fifteen years. The term describes the period of change from the Namban style of lacquer of the 16th and early 17th century, to the fully-developed Pictorial style which lasted into the 18th century. Namban, Transition and Pictorial style lacquers were produced for export to the West, first for the Portuguese and later for the Dutch markets.
For a similar chest in the Ethnographic Collection of the National Museum in Copenhagen see: Martha Boyer, Japanese Export Lacquer from the seventeenth century in the National Museum of Denmark, plate VII.