Zushidana Shelf with Design of Autumn Flowers, Fence, and Bellflower Crest

  • Azuchi-Momoyama period, 16th–17th century
  • Maki-e lacquer on wood
  • H-74 D-39 W-98.2
    Miho Museum
Catalogue Entry

Momoyama period, 17th century
Height, 74.0cm; width, 98.2cm; depth, 38.7cm

A zushi shelf with curved-end top board, 3 shelves, and feet. 2 sets of double-hinged doors are placed on the middle left and lower right.

Coated overall in black lacquer. The top board has a decorative pattern of bamboo hedge enclosing kikyo bellflowers, nadeshiko pinks, and other autumn grasses, with a scattered pattern of bellflower blossom crests. Gold and silver hiramakie. The 4 doors have the same motifs done in the same techniques. All of the other surfaces are decorated with a scattered pattern of bellflower blossom crests in silver and gold hiramakie.

This form of zushi shelf originated in the Heian period, but almost no examples of this caliber remain from Japan's medieval period. While these zushi shelves then became essential elements of the bridal goods of daimyo lord families during the Edo period, this type of pre-Edo period example is extremely rare. It can be hypothesized that this shelf was made for a member of the upper classes who had a bellflower blossom-shaped family crest. AH