Portable Lunch Box Set with Cherry Blossom and Maple Design

  • Attributed to Yamamoto Shunshō
  • Edo period, 18th century
  • Maki-e lacquer on wood
  • H-25.3 D-16 W-29.5
    Miho Museum
Catalogue Entry

This lunch box decorated with elegant maki‐e lacquer designs would have been used for a festive setting either indoors or outdoors on a picnic. Both sides have openwork patterns forming an outer framework for four box layers, a rectangular tray, and a silver wine bottle. Each is decorated with a design of cherry blossoms and maple leaves. This mix of seasonal imagery in a dancing, wind‐swept alternation reveals the Japanese love of the country's four seasons and their many changes.

This type of festive lunch box which can frequently be seen in the genre scenes of Japan's early pre‐modern period would have been used not only as utensils for food and drink, but also as something slightly out of the ordinary to heighten the mood of a party. This box is traditionally attributed to the Edo period lacquer artist Yamamoto Shunsho.