Important Cultural PropertyWriting Box with Design of Mount Hira

Save Image

image 全画面表示
  • Masanari Shiomi
  • 1 box
  • Lacquer painted wood
  • Length 24.8, Width 22.9, Height 4.8
  • Edo era, 18th century
  • Tokyo National Museum
  • H-61

On the surface of the lid are a mountain in the distance and a boat going over the water surface where floating cherry blossoms are depicted, while on the reverse side of the lid, an old pine tree, a small shrine and a torii gate are drawn. In the lacquered box in which the inkstone is stored, a waka poem is written with gold powder (kinmakie). On the surface of the box lid, a landscape of the Hira Mountains and Lake Biwa is depicted, while the reverse side of the lid shows a picture of a pine tree in Karasaki Shrine located on the west bank of Lake Biwa. In the composition, which has a perfect balance between distant and close views, thinly raised lacquerwork and ground lacquerwork are cleverly applied, together with cut metal foil pasted in place, successfully producing not only excellent spatial representation, but also subtle nuances of air and light. By using these techniques, the lid surface in particular represents the sentiment of the poem: "A wind is blowing, inviting flowers and showing the traces of a boat (花さそふ比良の山風吹きにけり こき行舟のあとみゆるまで)" (from Shin Kokin Wakashu (New Collection of Ancient and Modern Poems)). The subdued, sophisticated expression on the box can be deemed as the forerunner of the design-oriented expressions that flourished in the late Edo period.
In the center of the inner bottom (below the inkstone) of the case, the name Shiomi Masanari is inscribed in small characters with red lacquer. Shiomi Masanari was a lacquer craftsman who actively made lacquerware in Kyoto during the mid Edo period. It is said that he excelled at ground lacquerwork. There are many pillboxes found with the signature of Shiomi Masanari and this inkstone case will serve as an important reference for the investigation of his style.