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Container with lid

Japanese

Artwork Details

Container with lid
Early 19th century
Japanese
lacquered wood
2 7/16 in x 2 1/2 in x 2 1/2 in (6.19 cm x 6.35 cm x 6.35 cm)
Bequest of Margaret Watson Parker
1955/1.161A&B

On Display

Not currently on display

Description

Among the upper-class samurai of Edo-period (1615–1867) Japan, marriages were negotiated between families to suit political or economic ends. Families invested considerable resources in the education and material comfort of their daughters, and lavish bridal trousseaus, once a luxury reserved for daughters of court aristocrats or the most powerful warlords, became a social necessity for any high-ranking samurai family. 
​A standard trousseau included a custom-made set of over forty items made of lacquered wood and adorned with the family crests of the bride and groom. The love for seasonal motifs is seen in a lively floral scroll, centered on a crest of stylized paulownia blossoms that meanders across every object in the trousseau. Two additional family crests are scattered among the scrolls, one a chrysanthemum and the other an abstract geometric design based on the character for a water well. 
The lacquer box that served as the mirror stand usually houses a group of smaller cases that formed a women’s toilet set. The smaller cases hold combs, powders, brushes, and other grooming objects. The set was a necessary part of a bride’s dowry and would have been carried with a bamboo pole from her home to that of her future husband.

Subject Matter:


A standard trousseau included a custom-made set of over forty items made of lacquered wood and adorned with the family crests of the bride and groom. The love for seasonal motifs is seen in a lively floral scroll, centered on a crest of stylized paulownia blossoms that meanders across every object in the trousseau. Two additional family crests are scattered among the scrolls, one a chrysanthemum and the other an abstract geometric design based on the character for a water well.

The lacquer box that served as the mirror stand usually houses a group of smaller cases that formed a women’s toilet set. The smaller cases hold combs, powders, brushes, and other grooming objects. The set was a necessary part of a bride’s dowry and would have been carried with a bamboo pole from her home to that of her future husband. This container stores vegetable tannin for ohaguro (blackening teeth).

Physical Description:

A small, lacquered box with a rounded top. Gold flowers wrap around the sides of the box and there is a small gold crest on the top. Part of a bridal trousseau.

Usage Rights:

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