The Koma family of lacquerers was founded by Koma Kyui (1600-1663) who was appointed as the Goyo Makie Shi, or ‘Lacquerer by Appointment to the shogun’ by the third Tokugawa shogun Iemitsu. The family thrived as lacquerers to the Tokugawas and the Court until the 19th century, with around fifty known artists recorded using the name. Koma Kansai II (1767-1835), the maker of this set, eventually retired from service under Tokugawa Ienari to enter the priesthood. Kansai is well known as the first makie teacher of the young Shibata Zeshin (Lots 80, 81 and 82), on whose works can be seen the technical mastery he inherited from his early days in the Koma school. The family are well known as makers of inro, but few works survive on the scale of this extraordinarily beautiful set of boxes.