Title: Japanese lacquer box-Makie Raden Bunko of waterside lives
Bunko is a kind of box, and it is also called Bunko Bako. It has been used to store books, personal belongings, or valuables. Since ancient times, Japanese people put important things in boxes customarily. And they developed various techniques to decorate boxes.
This box has a rectangular shape with rounded corner. As its lid and body fit together at the rim, this type of structure is classified as Aikuchi Dukuri. The shallow case separates the inside of the box, so it is considered useful to organize items based on their volumes. This box is covered with a black wooden box.
On the front of the lid, you can see a boy holding a fishing rod in his hand and straddling a cow’s back. There is a house in front of them across the river. A huge pine tree stands beside the road, and its branches peek through the clouds. The pine tree has been treated as a symbol of good luck because it keeps its green color by withstanding severe heat and cold. Also, some people believe that mountain hermit lives at pine trees and eat its nuts. Based on this belief, it’s said pine tree represents longevity. The cow horns and some of the pine needles are decorated with Raden technique, accentuated in the gold and black lacquer screen. Now please focus on the roof of the house. As the surface is rough, its material might be sand or stone. It makes a realistic appearance of the thatched roof.
You will find a person who fishes from the water’s edge and flying birds on the box’s sides. By seeing the whole part of this box, including its lid, you can enjoy a view of people’s lives near the waterside.
Japanese apricot is designed on the back of the lid, and its petals are decorated with the Raden technique. Japanese apricots begin to bloom in winter when snow still covers its tree so that this flower tells the arrival of spring. People appreciate its adorable petal shape and scent, gracefully branched tree, and compose many poems. As it comes out in the cold season, it is said that it symbolizes perseverance and vitality.
The shallow box is decorated with some plants which are found along the roadside. The plant that is designed around the middle of the screen seems to be sacred bamboo. It’s named “Nanten” in Japanese, and it’s believed that it will ward off misfortune. This Bunko is the gem that is designed with lots of good-luck talismans such as pine tree, Japanese apricot, sacred bamboo, and so on. It’s useful to store your items. Or, you can also display it to enjoy as a part of the interior decoration in your room.
*Makie……A typical technique of Japanese lacquer art that has been developed uniquely in Japan for about 1200 years. Firstly, it needs to draw a picture with lacquer on the surface with a thin brush. Next, sprinkle gold powder from above to show the pattern before the lacquer hardens. This technique makes a gorgeous and elegant look to works.
*Raden…… It’s a kind decorative technique that is often used for traditional craftworks. It uses the pearl part of seashells and put it into the engraved surface of lacquer or wood. Thanks to its iridescent luster, it gives a luxurious look to works.
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