This is a prime example of sixteenth- to early seventeenth-century Kōdai-ji style lacquer ware decorated with paulownia and chrysanthemum crests among autumnal motifs of pampas grass and bush clover. Spectacular effects were achieved by sprinkling gold (maki-e) in wet lacquer to form flat modulated “pear skin” grounds accentuated by needle engraving. In 1606 the wife of the powerful warlord Toyotomi Hideyoshi built a family mausoleum on the grounds of the Kyoto temple Kōdai-ji. This daring new style of lacquer was created for the temple’s furnishings and had a tremendous influence on later Japanese lacquer and painted ceramics.
Artist Japanese
  • Document Box
Date early 17th Century
Medium Lacquer and gold maki-e on wood
Dimensions Overall: 7 inches × 17 1/2 inches × 11 inches (17.8 × 44.5 × 27.9 cm)
Credit Line Founders Society Purchase with funds from anonymous donor
Accession Number 81.1.A
Department Asian Art
Not On View
Kyoto National Museum, KODAI-JI MAKI-E, 1971.

DIA BULLETIN, vol 59, no 4, 1981, p 120 (ill).

DIA, 100 MASTERWORKS FROM THE DETROIT INSTITUTE OF ARTS, Hudson Hills Press, Inc, NY, 1985, p 56, p 57 (ill).

Mitchell, S.W., "The Asian Collection at the Detroit Institute of Arts", ORIENTATIONS, vol 13, no 5, May 1982, pp 14-36, fig 18.

Mitchell, S., "A portfolio of East Asian lacquers," APOLLO, vol 124, no 298, Dec., 1986, p 75, (ill).

Cunningham, Michael, "The Triumph of Japanese Style", Cleveland and Indiana Univeristy Press, 1991, pl 48.