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Japan

Cabinet with shelves (shodana) 1850-97

Wood, black and gold lacquer, silver fittings inlaid with gold | 70.6 x 75.5 x 31.0 cm (whole object) | RCIN 26044

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Early diplomatic relations were strengthened by the exchange of presents on important royal occasions. This gift for Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee represents the changing seasons – summertime iris, morning glory and lilies appear beside autumn maple leaves and chrysanthemums. This combination evokes Buddhist and Shintō ideas about nature’s cyclical rhythm.