Location: Japan, Tokyo

Materials: hardwood with some gold lacquer, copper with shosen and musen enamel

Dimensions: 236 x 163 x 54.5 cm largest plaque 29.8 x 27.3 cm

Accession Number: JAP 387

Other Notes:

This grand piece of export-style furniture was evidently made to hold a series of plaques, not necessarily by the same workshop for there are stylistic differences between them. As such, it was conceived rather as a display gallery than as an object of function. The Japanese aesthetic preference for asymmetric structures was well suited to the need to accommodate plaques of varying shapes and size into a single piece of furniture.

Of the thirty-two enamel panels mounted in this cabinet, three are signed with illegible seals (the plaque depicting a dove on a flowering cherry branch; a cream coloured peony and weeds in cloudy water). These, and other unsigned plaques, are decorated in the style of Watanabe Seitei. This group may be attributed to the workshop of Namikawa Sosuke, on the basis of other examples where his mark appears in conjunction with the seal of Watanabe Seitei. Other panels are possibly from the workshop of Ando Jubei, the largest producer of high-quality enamelwork.


Haydn Williams, Enamels of the World: 1700-2000 The Khalili Collections, London 2009, cat. 96, pp. 162–3.