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photograph of current display in the Grand Vestibule
Grand Vestibule: The British Monarchy and the World

The Grand Vestibule at Windsor Castle reflects interaction between the monarchy and the wider world



early seventeenth century

RCIN 39244

A stoutly made, rectangular box, with hinged overlapping lid and engraved gilt-bronze lock-plate and catch on the front, having a locked shallow drawer below. Decoration in the Namban taste favoured for exports, with mother-of-pearl inlay in the black-lacquered surface. On the top, a border of lozenge-diaper framing a central panel, within which are five large, circular mon emblems painted in black, gold and red lacquer, set in a ground inlaid with scattered mother-of-pearl. In the centre, the largest representing a wisteria spray, and round it, four framed in rings of mother-of-pearl, representing a chrysanthemum bloom, a symbol resembling a tripartite yin and yang, a disc quartered with various motifs, and a three-petalled device of gingko leaves. The lid painted inside in shades of gold, with a pair of cranes flying over a stream, with growing reeds and other water plants. On the front, following the style of the top, two further mon, framed in mother-of-pearl, of a paulownia and a half-chrysanthemum, with a floral lunette between, and on the drawer below, gilt pine branches and mother-of-pearl work. On the sides, flowering shrubs in panels and a pair of gilt-bronze loop handles. The back similarly decorated.

Text adapted from Chinese and Japanese Works of Art in the Collection of Her Majesty The Queen: Volume III.

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