Important Cultural PropertyNiche with flower-tree, bird, and beast motif mother-of-pearl inlayed ad lacquered with metal powder

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  • 1 piece
  • Lacquered wood
  • H49.5 W30.0 thickness4.8
  • Azuchi-Momoyama period/16-17th century
  • Tokyo National Museum
  • H-4446

This is a small, wall-hanging lacquered shrine with an oil painting of Christ on the Cross inside the double doors. It was crafted for export, to be used at a church. The outer sides are decorated with the motifs of trees, flowers, birds and beasts in gold and silver flat makie (hiramakie) and shell-inlay surrounded by the border of successive patterns such as nanban karakusa (lit. western arabesque). Small altars of this kind have been found recently in various places in Europe. It is now thought that a considerable number of them were made and exported in the same period as this one.