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An Inlaid-Lacquer Writing Box (Suzuribako)**
An Inlaid-Lacquer Writing Box (Suzuribako)**


An Inlaid-Lacquer Writing Box (Suzuribako)**
Taisho period (20th century), with lacquer signature Jitoku saku [Akatsuka Jitoku (1871-1936)]
The rounded rectangular box decorated with a whale raised in low-relief, grey-brown lacquer on a glossy black ground, the mottled skin and shadows on the whale's body dusted with gold, its teeth inlaid in ivory and eye in amber; the underside of the cover, removable tray and interior of the box all designed with swirling wave patterns rendered with gold-lacquer lines on a black ground; rims silver; the silver water dropper in the form of two shells and set into a silver saucer; removable inkstone nashiji on the sides and fundame on the upper edges
10 x 9¼ x 2 1/8in. (25.5 x 23.5 x 5.5cm.)
With wood box inscribed on the exterior Kujira makie suzuribako (Writing box with whale design) and on the underside of the cover Jitoku and with red kakihan (cursive monogram)

Lot Essay

Born in Tokyo, Akatsuka Jitoku was the seventh generation of a family of lacquer craftsmen. In addition to his training in lacquer, he learned Nihonga painting from Kano Hisanobu and Terazaki Kogyo (1866-1919) and then went on to study Western-style painting at the Hakubakai Kenkyujo (the Institute of the White Horse Society) in 1912. As a result he was able to modernize his craft by adding an element of Western naturalism to his otherwise very traditional, conservative lacquer techniques. Jitoku won a gold medal at the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition. In 1930 he was appointed Imperial Artist, a member of the elite Teikoku geijutsuin (the Imperial Art Academy). Several examples of his work were selected by the imperial household as official presentation gifts.


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