top of page

A Japanese export lacquer tripod table with feet shaped like bats

Nagasaki, 1850s


H. 73 cm x W. 123,7 cm

This table is a clear contemporary of the similarly proportioned ‘batfoot’ table in catalogue no. 48, albeit with a bolder and much more colourful design. The hexagonal top is geometrically divided into six sections through bands of white mother of pearl, forming three folding fan motifs on the corners in addition to highly contrasting pictorial segments that run into the centre of the table. One of these shows various island-based buildings connected to the mainland through a roofed wooden bridge. They appear to be public houses, perhaps hot-springs where the many colourfully dressed guests enjoy their leisure time amidst the pink cherry blossoms that form a stark contrast against the black lacquer background. The second segment shows a more classical, peafowl motif in aogai or ‘blue mother of pearl’ on a dark red ground. Both connect to the final segment, which comprises sprinkled wisterias, cherry blossoms, and boldly protruding peonies in taka-maki-e on a surface of bright vermillion. Together, the skilfully composed images form a somewhat eclectic yet pleasingly bright aesthetic that invokes an intense celebration.


Together with item no. 48, the table forms a pair that can be identified in the aforementioned Asada papers. Judging from the quality of the pearl and maki-e decorations, which are clearly on par with those of its contemporary displayed in London in 1854, this particular table was assumedly also intended to be a showcase of ‘Nagasaki Raden’ export ware.

bottom of page