The fabled “Mountain of Immortality,” known as Mount Horai, is depicted on this box. It was said to be found somewhere on an island in the East China Sea and endowed with the power to insure immortality. In Japan, this was popular on early lacquer works. When the common Mount Horai imagery of cranes and tortoises frolicking on a rocky shoreline dotted with bamboo and pines was combined with an assortment of insects, birds, and flowers, a very rare and special congratulatory design was created.
Artist Japanese
  • Noh Theater Mask Box
  • No-men Bako (alternate title)
Date 17th Century
Medium Lacquer on wood with maki-e (sprinkled gold powder) and metal fittings
Dimensions Overall: 10 5/8 × 13 7/8 × 9 5/8 inches (27 × 35.2 × 24.4 cm)
Credit Line Founders Society Purchase, Ralph Harman Booth Bequest Fund, Abraham Borman Family Fund, Joseph H. Boyer Memorial Fund, Benson and Edith Ford Fund, Henry Ford II Fund and K. T. Keller Fund
Accession Number 1983.38
Department Asian Art
Not On View
Haino Akio, "Horai Maki-e Men Bako," NIHON SHIKKO, Feb 1983, pp 2-4.

KACHO NO BI, Kyoto National Museum, Kyoto, Oct 5-Nov 14, 1982, p 162, no 204.

DIA BULLETIN, Annual Report 1984, p 22, fig 20.

Mitchell, S., "A portfolio of East Asian lacquers," APOLLO, vol 124, no 298, Dec., 1986, p 76, (ill).