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Shirayama Shōsai (1853-1923)

Lacquer box decorated with a heron c. 1890 - 1905

Black, gold and silver lacquer on wood | 23.2 x 27.5 x 33.5 cm (whole object) | RCIN 39503

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A deep, rectangular document box, with flush-fitting cover, rounded corners and a domed top. In a large quatrefoil panel of lustrous black, set in the fundame ground on top that also covers the sides, a large heron standing on one leg, in silver lacquer with gold streaks among the feathers and beak, and a gold and black eye. Round the sides, linking box and cover, a black band with curving grasses in gold in reserve. The inside of the lid showing on the same gold ground an aged prunus tree in silver, with four perching and two flying black crows, and a mountain top beyond.

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