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A Japanese Namban lacquer coffer with copper mounts for the European market


Momoyama period, late 16th/early 17th century

H. 30.5 x W. 43 x D. 24.2 cm

A medium-sized Namban coffer with a domed lid, delicately inlaid with mother-of-pearl and abundantly covered in gold and silver hira-maki-e. Particularly noteworthy are
the two pearl sparrows decorating the lid and the swirling bands of golden arabesques that show the steady hand of an experienced painter. Most importantly though, the whole coffer remains in a remarkably pristine condition, a rarity amongst export lacquer from the eventful era that marks the transition from Momoyama into Edo. Furthermore, the original fittings include a lock with a trick mechanism that makes it harder for an unwanted visitor to lay hands on the coffer’s contents.

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