Box with card game - ROM2005_5647_2


Box with card game

Medium:Lacquered wood with maki-e gilding, printed paper, and cotton
Geography: Japan
Date: 1830 - 1868 AD
Period: Edo period
16.7 x 15.8 x 11.5 cm
Object number: 930.24
Credit Line: Gift of Oscar Raphael
On view
Gallery Location:Prince Takamado Gallery of Japan
DescriptionRichly decorated lacquer objects figured prominently among the objects used in daily life by the elite. The principal method for decorating Japanese lacquer involves dusting the still-damp finish with powdered gold or silver. Practised from the eighth century on, maki-e (literally "sprinkled-picture") was refined to create several effects such as hira-maki-e (flat design), taka-maki-e (high relief design), and nashiji (pear-skin). Maki-e lacquer designs usually feature motifs from nature and scenic landscape, and often reflect the Japanese tradition of literary allusions. Maki-e decoration was applied to all kinds of objects used by the aristocracy and military elite: furniture, religious paraphernalia, tableware, and military gear. Europeans visiting Japan began collecting lacquered objects avidly as early as the mid-16th century, stimulating a robust export trade that endured into the early 20th century. In this card game the players spread out cards that each have the final two lines of a poem from a 13th-century anthology of 100 Japanese poems. A designated reader picks a card from a corresponding set of cards, each with a poet’s portrait and poem. The reader begins to chant this poem and the first player to retrieve the matching card scores a point for his or her team. Some Japanese families still play this game during the New Year season.
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