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Japanese Shibayama Box
Meiji Period (1868-1912) Circa 1890
This beautiful shibayama box shows a profusion of delicately carved flowers in various coloured shells including chrysanthemum, hydrangea and peonies with stained ivory leaves and amber details. Inside the box and lid is a dense speckled bright gold lacquer to complement the flowers.
Shibayama was initially used to decorate inro (a container for medicine or a seal) in the Edo period and is the art of inlaying coral, mother of pearl, ivory and other precious materials into a lacquer base.
It gained popularity in the Meiji period with the work of Onogi Senzo of Shibayama who became known as Shibayama Senzo and who mastered this technique, making wonderfully elaborate screens, panels and other objects for the export market. Shibayama has now become the accepted term for this style of Japanese craftsmanship.
Japanese Imperial Craftsmen, Meiji Art from the Khalili Collection, by Victor Harris, pub. British Museum Press 1994
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