• 1979.223-view-a
  • 1979.223-view-a.jpg
  • 1979.223-view-b

Box Cover


Gold and silver inlays in lacquer on leather

H. 3 3/4 x L. 13 1/4 x W. 16 1/4 in. (9.5 x 33.7 x 41.3 cm)

Asia Society, New York: Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection, 1979.223

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This lacquer cover that was presumably once part of a box illustrates the use of the heidatsu technique, in which pieces cut from thin gold and silver sheets are inlaid into a lacquer base. This technique was important in Japan during the 8th century, and while the decoration of this lid reflects 8th-century prototypes (the floral medallion in the center surrounded by four phoenixes, for example), the style of the decoration points to a much later date. The composition is static, and the individual elements are treated in a linear fashion that differs from the full, three-dimensional motifs found in 8th-century examples.