Meiji Period Japanese Dark Lacquer Tabletop Cabinet

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Of rectangular outline, the surfaces on all sides lacquered with repetitive scenes of waves rolling and crashing with spray, small gilt birds fly in and out, above the tumultuous waves, a bronze lidded basket with a pierced bronze lid locates in the top. The lacquer achieved in layers forming the outline of the frothing waves, the spray picked out in silver and the small birds in glorious gold. The cabinet is fitted with 9 drawers with ax handles. Drop handles fitted with sides.
Japan, circa 1880
Height 34 x 37 x 18cm

Out of stock


The 2nd half of the 19th century in Europe saw an explosion of interest in all things Japanese. The style influenced everything from painting to objects within the European aesthetic. A box such as this may well have been imported for sale in England in one of the high-end London retailers, Liberty & Co, and Farmer and Rogers, who capitalised on the taste of the time. Of course, it is mere speculation to suggest this Japanese lacquer cabinet was sold through those avenues, but it is an example of how ingrained Japonisme was in 19th century England.  Important exhibitions like the International Exhibition in London, 1862 revealed the incredible artistic output of contemporary Japan.

This beautiful tabletop cabinet is in its original condition, with no restoration evident. Indeed, there are small chips and scuffs which could be restored but are equally part of its character.

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Financing is available on request via Art Money.