Tray

wood lacquered in a variety of techniques including hiramaki-e, takamaki-e, togidashi-e, seidonuri, harigaki, keuchi

3 x 25.3 x 37.5 cm

A tray decorated with motifs associated with the rice harvest: a large red tea-kettle and rice-stalks. A few stalks of the latter have fallen on to the kettle, and a cricket sits on its wicker-covered handle; straw has been pushed into its spout to stop heat escaping. The underside of the kettle has become darkened by use. This design executed in gold, silver, black, red, and ochre hiramakie, takamakie, and togidashie on a seidonuri ground, with details in harigaki and keuchi.

There are several trays with this design, one reproduced by Goke, Bakumatsu kaikaki no shikko kaiga, No. 52, and another by Link, The Art of Shibata Zeshin, No. 58; Goke suggests that they may have formed a set. The autumnal subject seems to have been a favourite with Zeshin, who used it in two albums of urushie sketches. It is also seen on an inro in An Album of Zeshin Art from Various Collections (Anon. p. 43).

Inscriptiond on the storage-box read Bon makie ochibo zu [Tray with makie design of rice geanings] and Koma Zeshin sei [Made by Koma Zeshin], with a seal Tairyuo.

J. Earle (ed.), Meiji No Takara: Treasures Of Imperial Japan: Masterpieces by Shibata Zeshin, London 1996, cat. 33.

J. Earle, Splendors of Imperial Japan: Arts of the Meiji period from the Khalili Collection, London 2002, cat. 334, pp. 46–7.