Square Trays with a design of autumn grasses in maki-e



Period Momoyama period, 16th century
Materials and techniques Wood with black lacquer and gold
Size D.33.7×33.4 H.3.8, each


Chrysanthemum flowers, susuki (Japanese pampas grass), hagi (Japanese bush clover) and other autumn flowers are vividly depicted on both of the black lacquer trays. From ancient times, designs of autumnal flowers have been admired in Japan as they represent seasonal transition and sentiments particularly appreciated by the Japanese. Autumnal designs are beautifully illustrated in the picture scrolls of “The Tales of Genji” and in other courtly pictures. Each plant on both trays, expressed in various shades of gold and lightly sprinkled gold powder, looks lively and gorgeous.