W. 29.8 cm, D. 29.8 cm, H. 45.5 cm
Meiji period, 19th century
Awase-bako, collector’s box
Oidana / chadana, lacquered tea shelf in shape of “oi” for chanoyu
A tea shelf in a shape of oi. “Oi” is a name of box which is used by the mountain priests in training.
The mountain priests put it on their back.
The design of the lacquer of the sides of this box is a landscape of beach and one of the Seven Gods of Good Fortune, Hotei. Hotei was originally a Buddhism priest who was deified.
According to the storage box made by the collector (or ex-owner), this scene depicts Ataka no Seki. It is an anecdote that Minamoto no Yoshitsune and his servants were stopped at the Ataka barrier station by a barrier keeper on the way they fled to the Ōshū area in disguise of the mountain priests, and Benkei read out a false kanjinchō (a prospectus to gather donation for establishing a temple), which led them to get away from the situation. This famous story became a dance of Kabuki.
The technique of lacquering is quite fine, and the comparison of black lacquer and gold and silver maki-e is very chic. The hollows’ shape is in Buddhism architecture style. The design of maki-e on the hedge of the top is the flower motif in the octagon shape, which is very like Daimyō-dōgu, Japanese feudal lord’s belongings. The condition is perfect like new, but the patina of the silver lacquer seems old enough.