The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Lacquer cabinet
  • Lacquer cabinet
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Kyoto, Japan and Paris, France
  • c. 1680
  • Laquered hiba-wood, gilt bronze, gilt copper, powdered gold, silver foil and pear-skin lacquer (nashiji)
  • Object size: 86 x 99 x 54 cm, excluding feet
    Height: 11 cm, feet
  • F19
  • Billiard Room
Commentary
History
Further Reading
  • Japanese lacquer was enormously prized in Europe in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. This cabinet, one of a pair (with F18) is of a type that was exported from Japan to Europe by the Dutch East India Company, although they are of higher quality than most export lacquer. They were probably made in a workshop in the Imperial city of Kyoto. Both cabinets depict on their outer doors stylised views of Mount Fuji and its surrounding landscape. Although almost identical, the design is in reverse on each cabinet, so they balance one another when displayed as a pair. Some decorative elements of the exterior, such as the mountains, rocks and roofs of buildings, are raised in low relief, and the summit of Mount Fuji has applied silver leaf to represent snow.
    There are ten drawers inside, each with a lacquer front. The spectacular lock-plates and other metal fittings on the cabinets themselves were made in Japan, but the feet were probably added in Paris.