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Box and cover 1850 - 1920

Black, gold, silver, red and green lacquer and shell on wood | 5.8 x 12.6 x 9.8 cm (parts .a and .b together) | RCIN 29463

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This box is carefully decorated with instruments for gagaku (‘elegant music’), the traditional court music of Japan. The genre was codified during the Heian period (794–1185), at a time when courtiers and officials regularly performed stylised dances as part of their official duties. The design evokes the refined atmosphere of the Imperial Court.