Inkstone box decorated with landscape with poem-picture

Historical period(s)
Momoyama period, 1568-1615
Lacquer on wood with gold and silver; brass; stone (maki-e)
H x W x D: 4.2 x 19.7 x 21.3 cm (1 5/8 x 7 3/4 x 8 3/8 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Osborne and Gratia Hauge
Freer Gallery of Art Collection
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Container, Lacquer

Inkstone box

Hauge collection, Japan, landscape, lettering, Momoyama period (1573 - 1615)
Provenance research underway.

The scenic views around Lake Biwa near Kyoto became the subject of a series of poems and images that were modeled after the Chinese theme Eight Views of Xiao and Xiang Rivers. The corresponding scenes around Lake Biwa, known as Eight Views of Omi, became the most famous of the Japanese regional versions of the Eight Views, which proliferated during the Edo period. The handscroll by Kano Tan'yu, the leading artist of the seventeenth century, illustrates the Eight Views accompanied by inscriptions of poetry (see F1904.390).

The inkstone box, designed to hold writing implements such as brush, ink, waterdropper, and inkstone, is decorated with the same scenes compressed to form an integrated composition on the interior of the lid and base. Japanese versions of the Eight Views were based on actual places, but their pictorial representations always included standard imagery from the original Chinese illustrations, such as descending geese, autumn moon, or returning sails.

The scene on the outside of the lid is a poem-picture (uta-e) in which a phrase of the poem in calligraphic cursive script is hidden in the contour of the picture. The verse comes from the imperial anthology, Senzai wakashu (Collection of Japanese Poems of One Thousand Years).

Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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