The decoration of this box illustrates a part of kanajo [preface] of the Kokin Wakashu also known as Kokinshu [Collection of Ancient and Modern Verse] by Ki no Tsurayuki (872-945). The five characters of naku [sing], uguisu [nightingale], sumu [dwell], kawazu [frog] and koe [voice] are actually inlaid and the blossoming plum and water are rendered in pictorial form in various lacquer techniques on the cover. This combination of calligraphy and image recreate part of the sentence:
Hana ni naku uguisu, mizu ni sumu kawazu no koe o kikeba, ikitoshi ikeru mono, izureka, uta o yomazarikeru
How could all the living creatures refrain from making poems when we hear nightingales singing among the blossoms and the voices of frogs that dwell in the water?