The Hiramaki-e technique, which dates from the latter part of the Heian Period (794-1185), was preceded by Togidashi maki-e, a technique in which not only the design, but the whole surface is covered with clear lacquer after the sprinkling of metal powder. The lacquer is then polished down to reveal the design.
The Japanese letter box is decorated in low relief of mountainous terrain and a stylized linear mist or cloud line. The interior ground is lacquered and sprinkled with gold flecks of nashiji emulating pear skin. The tray is also decorated with circular crested motifs of clam shells and coral, phoenix mon patterns, flowers, fish and birds. The box's elegant appeal is rounded and smooth, and is bullnose on all four edges. The cover lid is beaded with edges lined in silver, and is fitted precisely with enduring craftsmanship.
Early Meiji Period (1868 - 1912)
Size: 11" long x 8 1/2"wide x 4" high.