Incense Container with Tortoise-shell Pattern

  • Kamakura period, 13th–14th century
  • Maki-e lacquer, with mother-of-pearl inlay, on wood
  • H-2.9 D-8
    Miho Museum
Catalogue Entry

Muromachi period, 15th century
Height, 2.8cm; diameter, 7.7cm

This round mirror case has a slightly raised lid and tin edge. Covered overall with black lacquer. Thick nashiji ground. The lid surface is decora-ted with seven sets of three hexagonal tortoise-shell motifs, each hexagon centered with a diamond-shaped flower motif. Four of the triple hexagon motifs are created in the togidashi makie technique, while three are inlaid with mother-of-pearl. Further, the lid interior, the interior of the body, and the base have a thin nashiji ground with the same tortoise-shell pattern created in the togidashi makie technique.

This mirror case was probably an interior fitting for a tebako toiletry case with the same decorative motifs. In later years, this mirror case was separated from its accompanying tebako toiletry box and was used as an incense container. AH