Box with Polar Lights

Yoshio Okada (b. 1977)

Box with Polar Lights

Item number: T-4022
Size: H 3.2" x W 7.2" x L 7.2" (8.2 x 18.2 x 18.2 cm)



Wood body; shell inlay with gold and aokin togidashi maki-e and gold hirame on a polished black-lacquer ground with relief modeling; the interior and inner sides in black lacquer with gold nashiji forming a black circle representing the moon

3 1/4 × 7 1/8 × 7 1/8 in. (8.2 × 18.2 × 18.2 cm)

Signed on the base with red-lacquer seal-style characters Yoshio

With fitted kiri-wood tomobako storage box inscribed Maki-e kazaribako Kyokkō ("Polar Lights" decorative box with sprinkled design) and signed Yoshio tsukuru  (Made by Yoshio)

In his dramatic and effective use of shell inlay, Okada is heir to a modern tradition stretching back to pioneering lacquer artist Tatsuaki Kuroda (1904–1982) who plotted a new path for the medium by rejecting its former aping of Chinese or Korean pictorial and decorative styles. Alongside shell inlay, extremely fine gold and silver powders, applied using the togidashi maki-e (“sprinkled and polished out”) technique discussed earlier (no. 2), perfectly mimick the curtain-like appearance of the Northern or Southern Lights (aurora borealis or aurora australis), while black-on-black relief lacquer evokes night-time clouds.


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