Yoshio Okada (b. 1977)
"Wavy Clouds and Crescent Moon" Small Box
Item number: T-4179
Size: H 1.5" x W 5.7" x L 4.3" (3.8 x 14.5 x 10.9 cm)
Kanshitsu lacquer body; gold foil and shell inlay with gold, aokin, and silver togidashi maki-e on a polished black-lacquer ground; the interior gold nashiji on black lacquer
Signed inside with gold hiramaki-e characters Yoshio tsukuru (Made by Yoshio)
With fitted kiri-wood tomobako storage box inscribed Tenshō maki-e kobako Haun Sengetsu ("Wavy Clouds and Crescent Moon" small box with sprinkled design of celestial phenomena) and signed Yoshio tsukuru (Made by Yoshio)
In the series of four "Celestial Phenomena" boxes reproduced here and on the following pages (nos. 6–9), Okada depicts four of the eight principal phases of the moon—from waxing crescent moon through half moon and waxing gibbous moon to full moon—seen against a variety of night-time cloud formations. The moon is rendered in a variety of materials: the bright crescent moon in thinly cut shell; the half moon in gold foil; the gibbous moon in the maki-e technique, using powdered gold of two different purities to achieve a shaded effect; and the full moon again in gold foil. As with the four earlier "Celestial Phenomena" boxes (nos. 1–4), the dramatic cloud patterns are executed in the polished togidashi maki-e technique, using a varying combination of gold, silver, and colored fine hirame flakes. Okada breaks with historical precedent by wrapping the design around the entire surface of each box, offering the owner the pleasure of "hold[ing] Infinity in the palm of [the] hand."