Colored shell inlay maki-e lacquerware box for tanzaku ‘The Sal Tree’

By Kagari Miyoshi

Purchased in 1991 / part of museum collection

Kagari Miyoshi (1954­–) is a lacquerware artist from Kagawa Prefecture, whose apprenticeship took place under the tutelage of lacquer artist Ei Sasaki. Invited to participate in the Japan Traditional Art Crafts Exhibition and the Japan Traditional Lacquer Exhibition, his work is synonymous with modern and fantastic motifs using advanced and sophisticated interpretations of traditional techniques.

Used for storing tanzaku––long, narrow cards on which Japanese poems are written vertically––this box is a fine example of the irokirigai technique, in which gold and silver leaf are applied to the back of a very thin shell, which is then cut up into smaller pieces and individually stamped.