Lacquer art in Japan during the late 19th and early 20th century flourished as a vital and innovative art form. The transition of lacquer art from an export product to a distinct art form was galvanized by such notable artists as Shibata Zeshin (1807-1891) (see lot 48), Shirayama Shosai (1853-1923) and Akatsuka Jitoku (1871-1936). Each of these artists is known for his bold, fresh designs and technical excellence. During the first decades of the 20th century, Jitoku, who may have designed this box, incorporated designs that ran across several surfaces of his objects, often oriented diagonally over the corners. He also favored granular gold grounds progessively darkening to a glossy black. Using these techniques Jitoku was able to create a sense of space and give an impression of a particular time of day, such as twilight or dusk, similar to what is achieved in this tebako.