A UNIQUE JAPANESE LACQUER MINIATURE JEWELLERY CABINET
Edo period, 17th century
Black lacquered wood (Urushi), decorated with gold lacquer (Maki-e) and gilt copper mounts.
H. 18.5 x W. 16.9 x D. 16.9 cm
Japanese lacquered cabinets (ventó) made for the Portuguese initially either had a fall-front or a single door. After the Portuguese had been forced out of Japan and the Dutch were the only Westerners allowed to trade in Japan, the style of these cabinets changed. One door or fall-front was replaced by two doors, mother of pearl was used much less and the decoration became more pictorial as in the present one, depicting flowers in a landscape. The present cabinet is unique in its very small size. Behind the two doors it nevertheless has seven tiny drawers, probably designed to hold jewels or other small objects of value.