Inkstone Box with Paulownia Tree Design

  • Azuchi-Momoyama period, 16th century
  • Maki-e lacquer on wood
  • H-6.3 D-24 W-22.6
    Miho Museum
Catalogue Entry

Momoyama period, 16th century
Height, 24.2cm; width, 22.6cm; depth, 6.3cm

Rectangular inkstone box with an overlapping lid with beveled top edges. Coated overall with black lacquer. The beveled edges are coated in gold. The box has the deep box format characteristic of the Momoyama period.

The top of the lid is decorated with a single paulownia tree done in gold hiramakie technique. The flowers and leaves of the paulownia tree resemble the paulownia crest shapes. The Kodaiji makie characteristic use of worm holes on the paulownia patterns can be found in this decoration. The interior of the lid is decorated with a small paulownia tree handled in the same techniques seen on the exterior of the lid. The body of the box has a centrally placed underboard and a bronze double plum-blossom-shaped water dropper set into the upper end of the under-board, and is now missing its original inkstone.

The small insets to either side have the same rectangular shape and size. A small branch of paulownia in the same makie techniques decorates the bottom of each inset. A typical Momoyama period Kodaiji makie inkstone box. The box inscription reads, "Momoyama period, paulownia branch makie inkstone box." AH