Important Cultural Property

Writing Box with a design of a woodcutter in inlaid mother-of-pearl and maki-e


Artist Attributed to Hon'ami Koetsu
Period Edo period, 17th century
Materials and techniques Wood with black lacquer and gold
Size D.24.2×23.0 Overall H.10.1


This writing box has a dome-shaped lid and four rounded corners. On the lid, a figure of a woodcutter descending a mountain path with a load of firewood on his shoulder is boldly represented by abalone-shell and lead inlays. The mountain path, represented by gold maki-e, continues on to the inside of both the lid and the container and to the underside of the container. Fern shoots and dandelions depicted with abalone-shell and lead inlays are seen along the mountain path. Judging from the innovative use of shell and lead inlays and the strikingly artistic sensibility, it is most likely that Hon’ami Kōetsu, widely admired artist of the time, was involved in making this writing box.

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