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A RECTANGULAR LACQUER TRAY
THE FLORENCE AND HERBERT IRVING COLLECTION
A RECTANGULAR LACQUER TRAY WITH DECORATION OF AUTUMN GRASSES AND MOON

SHIBATA ZESHIN (1807-1891), JAPAN, MEIJI PERIOD, LATE 19TH CENTURY

Details
A RECTANGULAR LACQUER TRAY WITH DECORATION OF AUTUMN GRASSES AND MOON
SHIBATA ZESHIN (1807-1891), JAPAN, MEIJI PERIOD, LATE 19TH CENTURY
Decorated in polychrome lacquer and gold and silver makie, with two crickets amidst pampas grasses in a moonlit landscape, signed lower right Zeshin
19 ¼ in. (49 cm.) long
Provenance
Klaus F. Naumann, Tokyo, 1990.
The Irving Collection, no. 2936.
Literature
Goke Tadaomi, Shibata Zeshin in Nihon no bijutsu 93, Shibundo, 1974, pl. 15.
James C. Y. Watt and Barbara Brennan Ford, East Asian Lacquer: The Florence and Herbert Irving Collection, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1991, no. 145, p. 286.
Exhibited
New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, East Asian Lacquer from the Florence and Herbert Irving Collection,12 November 1991-23 February 1992.

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Lot Essay

Zeshin, a keen-eyed naturalist, transforms a tray meant for clothing into an evocative moonlit landscape. Seen from a low vantage point, a full moon of pale, parchment-color lacquer illuminates a gently sloping hillock with mottled black lacquer surface. Two crickets stand out with startling, playful clarity in polished black lacquer. Pampas grasses echo the rounded forms of the moon and hillside in slender lines of gold and black lacquer weighted with silver dewdrops that glisten in the moonlight. The dark, green-brown sky enhances the dreamlike atmosphere. This intimate close-up of nature suggests a low window opening onto a garden in autumn, a season that evokes a sense of melancholy and regret for the passing of time. In Japan, gazing at the moon and listening to the sounds of insects have long been tranquil ways to spend an autumn evening.

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