Important Cultural PropertyRack lacquered with metal powder

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  • By Honnami Kōetsu
  • 1 piece
  • Lacquered wood
  • W72.5 depth33.0 H65.5
  • Edo period/17th century
  • Tokyo National Museum
  • H-4523

This three-tiered shelf has curved ends (fudegaeshi) at both ends of the top plate, double-doors on the left half of the middle tier and sliding doors on the right half of the bottom tier, the space of which can be used as a miniature closet. This style is called a zushi-shelf. Makie of a pine tree with its roots fully shown (nebiki no matsu) is on the top plate, a folding fan with a picture of a bottle-gourd flower on it is on the upper tier and an ox-drawn coach and an attendant are on the middle tier. Each of these symbolizes a chapter of The Tale of Genji, "The First Warbler (Hatsune)," "Evening Faces (Yūgao, bottle-gourd flower)" and "The Gatehouse (Sekiya)," respectively. Hedges are pictured on the double-doors and the sliding doors, folding fans on the bottom tier and maple and pine leaves are scattered on the inner sides of the closet space, both sides and the backside of the shelf. The main technique used is raised makie (takamakie), with shell-inlay (raden), cut pieces of gold and silver (kirikane) and imbedded shapes cut out from tin sheets (hyōmon). This piece was formerly owned by the Hachisuka clan, the feudal lord of Tokushima Han (today's Tokushima Prefecture), along with Bugaku-makie-suzuri-bako (writing box with a makie of court-performance, Important Cultural Property, Tokyo National Museum) and Senmen-torikabuto-makie-ryōshi bako (box for writing paper with a makie of aconite, Important Cultural Property, Tekisui Museum). This piece appears to be not as tiny as those two pieces, probably because it is significantly larger. The characteristics of makie pieces attributed to Kōetsu are clearly shown in this piece, such as the compositions with the closed-up motifs and the pictures inspired by classical literature.