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Japan

Table stand late eighteenth or early nineteenth century

Wood decorated in black and gold lacquer | 14.4 x 30.2 x 30.2 cm (whole object) | RCIN 26012

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Literary allusions appear frequently on Japanese decorative arts, including items intended for export. This stand shows Lake Biwa, where the court classic, the Tale of Genji (Genji Monogatari), was composed in the eleventh century. Written by the noblewoman Murasaki Shikibu (978–1016), the book’s vivid description of courtly romance is considered the world’s earliest novel.