Stunning, Very Fine Antique Japanese Lacquer Writing Box with Inlaid Pearls

Regular price $350.00

I purchased this Japanese lacquer box at an estate sale a few years ago, and have sat on it thinking I would take it to an appraiser, but that has not happened, so here I am listing it. It is quite a fine one, which I believe would be referred to as a Suzuri Bako, made for holding writing brushes, ink stick, and/or inkstone; this might once have held an interior tray or trays for those, though I am not certain. The design of the lid features Chrysanthemums (symbolizing the sun, light, and immortality), many with inlaid pearls at their centers, and landscape with falling water below. The two large gold forms at right look like Ginkgo leaves to me, with extraordinary surfaces decoration suggesting infinite branching. On the interior of the lid are two cranes, pine trees, and a moon, and around the perimeter of the lid for Chrysanthemums and pearls. A very fine example of Japanese makie surface decoration, where designs are very finely painted in lacquer then sprinkled with gold, etc; and a rare one to feature the inlay of whole pearls. 19th century I believe, it appears to be unsigned.

9 5/8" x 8 1/4" x 2" tall. Two sides of the lid have been re-glued, which one can tell by looking at the corners, which show a little wear, and there is some lacquer loss to the underside of the box. There are a couple of pearls missing around the perimeter of the box. The face is in very good condition, with one tiny spot of loss of gold at the edge of one ginkgo leaf. Photos are thorough in documenting condition.  I have not touched the lacquer on this or attempted in any way to clean it.