Important Cultural PropertyBox lacquered with metal powder, the picture of folding fans

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  • 1 piece
  • Lacquered wood
  • 22.6x29.7x14.7
  • Muromachi period/15th century
  • Tokyo National Museum
  • H-32

The surface of this tebako (lit. hand-box, box to keep small items for everyday use, such as cosmetics) is decorated with folding fans in a variety of forms – some of them are fully-open, some are half-open and some are closed. Folding fans have been a popular motif for a variety of craftworks because their flexibility of form and the variations of pictures on the surfaces, such as the natural features of each season or the motif of flowers-and-birds, allowed for much artistic exploration on the part of the artisans. Significantly, it has had a long history as a design for lacquer ware. Two other tebakos of the same type have also been designated Important Cultural Properties and some other excellent examples of lacquered tebakos, with the same motif made in the Kamakura or the Muromachi period, have survived as well. This featured piece finely details the pictures on the folding fans using a number of makie techniques, including the golden burnished makie, flat makie and raised makie, fully conveying the charm of the folding-fan pattern.