Historical period(s)
Muromachi period, 15th century
Red and black lacquer on carved wood (Kamakura-bori)
H x Diam (overall): 8.3 x 24.4 cm (3 1/4 x 9 5/8 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Container, Lacquer

Incense box

Buddhism, incense, Japan, Muromachi period (1333 - 1573)
Provenance research underway.

This large incense box is one of the earliest surviving examples of Kamakura-bori, a Japanese technique of carving patterns into wood, then applying layers of black and red lacquer.  Many early Kamakura-bori pieces were made for use in Zen Buddhist rituals in which they substituted for scarce and precious carved lacquers imported from China.

Published References
  • Zaigai Nihon no Shiho [Japanese Art: Selections from Western Collections]. 10 vols., Tokyo, 1979 - 1980. vol. 10: pl. 9.
  • Dr. John Alexander Pope, Thomas Lawton, Harold P. Stern. The Freer Gallery of Art. 2 vols., Washington and Tokyo, 1971-1972. cat. 109, vol. 2: p. 181.
  • Ann Yonemura. Japanese Lacquer. Washington, 1979. cat. 5, p. 17.
  • Masterpieces of Chinese and Japanese Art: Freer Gallery of Art handbook. Washington, 1976. p. 91.
  • Shincho sekai bijutsu jiten [Shincho Encyclopedia of Art]. Tokyo. p. 313.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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