Japan | Orient Zone Japan | Incense Case

Tin-edged, round incense case with chrysanthemum maki-e design

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  • Tin-edged, round incense case with chrysanthemum maki-e design
Muromachi period, 16th Century, D7cm
Three stalks of chrysanthemum are depicted on the lid in gold and silver raised maki-e (sprinkled picture decoration), with a mound stone depicted on the base in gold and silver hyomon (metal sheet inlay). Nashiji (pear skin) lacquer is used on the inside, and the case has a tin edge where the lid and base meet. The case has three inlays of mound stones in all.

Garan-seki (old temple stone) incense case

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  • Garan-seki (old temple stone) incense case
Mid-Edo period, 18th Century, W4.2cm
Igayaki (Iga ware). This ceramic case has bits of iron glaze on both the lid and base. The case is modeled upon the foundation stones (garan-seki) once used to support pillars at temples and shrines and repurposed as steppingstones. The overall form is well-ordered.

Inlaid incense box

138

  • Inlaid incense box
Haritsu Ogawa, Mid-Edo period, 18th Century, W5.8cm
Made of black lacquer. The parrot is ceramic; the branch it sits on is lead; the chain is gold; the plant pot is coral and stone; the tassels are made of various materials, such as turban shell Haritsu marquetry. The paulownia wood outer case was designed by Oba Shogyo, a maki-e artist and living national treasure.

Hollyhock Leaf Gold Lacquer Incense Case

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  • Hollyhock Leaf Gold Lacquer Incense Case
Latter Edo period W4.1cm
The case is made of wood carved into the shape of a hollyhock leaf with layers of lacquer applied, on top of which is densely sprinkled gold powder. The effect is an adorable, little incense box.

Carved lacquer guardian dog incense box

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  • Carved lacquer guardian dog incense box
Kodo Otomaru 1992, W6.6cm
Tsuishitsu is a technique used here that requires the repeated application of different colors of lacquer to build up thick, colored layers that are then carved to reveal the decorative colors in cross-section. On the top of the lid is a sculpted guardian dog for a handle, decorated in gold powder relief, and the lid's surface features a cherry blossom pattern in sunken gold.

Silver incense case with gold leaf and hare design

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  • Silver incense case with gold leaf and hare design
Mitsuo Masuda 1993, D5.4cm
A silver incense case with the lip of a traditional pillbox. On the lid is an idyllic image of a reclining hare surrounded by fluttering butterflies. The grass is expressed in gold leaf. The ground consists of a verdigris nanako metalwork. The hare's eye is a red ruby, and the sides have powdered lapis lazuli inlaid to produce a colorful ultramarine blue.