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Writing Box and Implements (suzuri bako) with a Pheasant Beside a Stream
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Writing Box and Implements (suzuri bako) with a Pheasant Beside a Stream


Description Conservation Exhibitions Provenance Credit
Description Implements inside the box: A rectangular inkstone with a depression for water is positioned in the center of the box. On the right side are brushes and a stylus, while on left is an encased knife used to cut paper. The enamel piece above, in the shape of hollyhock leaves, is a water-dropper. An ink stick (sumi) would have been included in the set. The sumi is a small stick of solid ink that is turned into usable ink by grinding it on the inkstone and adding water. Lid with pheasant beside a stream: The inlaid silver Japanese text on the lid is a partial line from a poem in Lady Murasaki Shikibu's early 11th-century novel The Tale of Genji. In chapter 29, "The Royal Outing," the emperor invites Genji to go hunting in the mountains outside Kyoto. Genji sends his regrets that he cannot join the royal party. The emperor decides to send Genji a couple of pheasants with the following poem attached: Deep in the snows of Mount Oshio Are ancient pheasants' tracks. Would that you might see them. The box makes a poignant reference to this classical poem, as it holds the tools of a poet.
Conservation
Date Description Narrative
11/08/1979Examinationexamined for condition
Exhibitions
  • Japanese Lacquers. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1984.
  • The Art of Writing Instruments from Paris to Persia. 2011.
Provenance Henry Walters, Baltimore [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters

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Creator
Period
18th-19th century (Edo; Meiji)
Medium
box: wood, lacquer, silver, mother-of-pearl, gold; paint brushes: wood, lacquer, animal hair; water dropper: silver, enamel; stylus: wood, lacquer, steel; knife: wood, lacquer, steel; ink stone: slate
Accession Number
67.75
Measurements
Lid H: 1 x W: 8 3/8 x D: 9 in. (2.54 x 21.27 x 22.86 cm); Bottom H: 1 1/2 x W: 8 3/8 x D: 9 in. (3.81 x 21.27 x 22.86 cm)
Geographies
  • Japan (Place of Origin)
Location Within Museum
Not On View

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