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    Sale 1978

    Japanese And Korean Art

    18 March 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 35

    A Lacquer Writing Box (Suzuribako)


    Price Realised  


    A Lacquer Writing Box (Suzuribako)
    (20th century), Zohiko (Nishimura Hikobei)
    The rectangular box designed as a ledger book, the exterior finished to resemble a silk cover with "stitched" binding and with imitation title slip inscribed in black lacquer (Ryozai nendaiki gen), the underside of the cover inlaid with soft metal coins against a black-lacquer ground lightly dusted with hirame, the removable inner tray decorated to resemble ledger paper in gold takamaki-e; the inkstone formed as a balance weight and with lacquer nashiji on the sides and fundame on the edges, silver water dropper cast as an abacus; two writing brushes; edges fundame and rims silver
    Writing box 10¾ x 7½ x 2 1/8in. (27.3 x 19 x 5.3cm.)
    With wood box designed as a money chest with hinged cover and iron lock, signed and inscribed on the underside of the cover Hon kata onsuzuribako (Book-shaped writing box), Heian Zohiko kore (o) tsukuru (Made by Heian Zohiko) and sealed Zohiko

    Inside of wrapper inscribed describing the presentation of this writing box to Endo Bansen from Baron Mitsui Takamine dated 1933.5.8

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    According to the inscription written on the inside of the cloth wrapper, Endo Bansen was given the box by Baron Mitsui Takamine, 10th head of the main branch of the Mitsui family, on May 8, 1933. The box was made to commemorate publication of Ryogae nendaiki (Record of banking transactions) by the Mitsui family, covering the years from the Meireki to Bunsei eras (1655-1818). The original manuscript was in the collection of the Mitsui Bunko. The family decided to make a printed replica.

    Endo Bansen worked as a researcher on this publication project. The lacquer replica was a thank-you gift from Baron Mitsui: the water dropper in the writing box is crafted as a miniature working abacus and the inkstone is in the shape of a weight for measuring gold. As the final pièce de résistance, coins are inlaid on the interior of the lid in gold and silver.


    Baron Mitsui Takamine (1857-1948), Tokyo
    Endo Bansen