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Japanese Namban lacquer transition-style coffer with two drawers


Kyoto/Nagasaki, circa 1650
 

The cartouches with gilt and red decorations of leaves, ferns, grasses, raised silver flowers and a hare, on a wood grain, mokume, ground, with engraved red copper mounts, on hinoki (cypress) wood base.
 

L. 38.8 x W. 15.6 x H. 21.3 cm
 

A similar, larger, mokume ground coffer, signed Saji Kichibei fude is in the collection of the Groninger Museum (inv. 1988-24). ‘Kisibe’ is mentioned (‘the best craftsman’) in VOC-documents of 1653 (Japanese Export Lacquer, 1580- 1850, Oliver Impey & Christiaan Jörg, Hotei Publishing, Amsterdam, 2005, pp. 32-33). The woodgrain, mokume, background is very unusual.