Tsuru Bunko




A wonderful Kōrin-maki-e writing box with design of two cranes standing on the shore.

Ogata Kōrin (1658-1716) is a very famous Japanese painter who founded the Rinpa School. He is also admitted as a great artist in the decoration of lacquer or designer of kimono. He broke away from all tradition and developed an original style of his own, on studying the style of Hon’ami Kōetsu (1558-1637) and Kōetsu’su collaborator, Tawaraya Sōtatsu (? -? 17th century). His lacquer technique and style is called Kōrin-maki-e, and many disciples copied later.

The crane has been loved and used as a popular design because of its refined and elegant look in Japan. On the golden mat ground lacquer, two cranes are depicted. One is white in mother-of-pearl work and the other is black in metal inlay. The typical Kōrin-mizu design representing a circle ripple is depicted on the back of the cover with metal inlay. Kōrin invented this design and used it for his works. The cover is quite heavy because of these works.

The cranes are deformed simpler than the reality, and the background is also depicted very minimal. This composition makes this piece more outstanding.