Sep 22, 2020
May 14, 2012
May 14, 2012
May 14, 2012

Writing Box (Suzuribako) with Europeans

Writing Box (Suzuribako) with Europeans


c. 1800–1868

Part of a set. See all set records

Lacquer on wood with designs in gold and silver lacquer and inlaid silver

Overall: 23 x 20.2 cm (9 1/16 x 7 15/16 in.)

Andrew R. and Martha Holden Jennings Fund 1969.59



For many Japanese patrons, objects decorated with images of foreigners offered the rare opportunity to see westerners. The two men on the left were likely Portuguese traders, identifiable by their balloon-shaped pants. The man on the right is a Jesuit priest. Portuguese traders arrived in Japan in 1543 and soon after Christian missionaries began to create outposts there. By the early 17th century, Christianity was outlawed and the Portuguese were forced out of Japan. This object was created during the short period when the Portuguese were allowed in Japan.

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