Zen Buddhism was brought to Japan from China in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries and with it came a range of special vessels and utensils, including both ceramic and lacquer pieces, in the shape of a flower in full bloom. This Lot is an example of a lobed lacquer tray produced in Japan, but following a Chinese original, reflecting the favourable attitude towards mainland culture that prevailed during the fourteenth and fifteenth century. Lobed trays served the same fuctions as the footed marubachi bowls, which also have a flat profile in the well.
For a similar example see Kawada Sadamu, Negoro Lacquer (Kyoto, 1985), pl. 118.