Box for writing equipment (suzuribako)

Historical period(s)
Edo period, 18th-19th century
Lacquer on wood with gold, silver, glass, and mercury
H x W x D: 21.6 x 20.4 x 4.2 cm (8 1/2 x 8 1/16 x 1 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


bridge, Edo period (1615 - 1868), Japan, landscape, wave, writing
Provenance research underway.

This box for writing-equipment is decorated with a landscape that does not portray a specific place. It is simply a novel piece that incorporates a waterwheel behind a glass inset that turns when mercury hidden in channels within the lid flows through as the lid is lifted.

Published References
  • Ann Yonemura. Japanese Lacquer. Washington, 1979. cat. 25, p. 52.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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