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Identification and Creation

Object Number
Hiranatsume Spring and Autumn Tea Caddy with Decoration of Cherry Blossoms and Maple Leaves
Work Type
Creation Place: East Asia, Japan
Taishō to Shōwa period, early 20th century
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

Takamakie lacquer, nashiji gold flakes, and kirigane gold foil on a roiro black lacquer ground, the lower sides with nashiji gold flakes and bokashi kinpun gold dust, the inside and the bottom with dense nashiji gold flakes
maximum, including cover: H. 5.8 x Diam. 8.9 cm (2 5/16 x 3 1/2 in.)
tea caddy only: H. 4.8 cm (1 7/8 in.)


Recorded Ownership History
Private Collection, Japan; sold [to Erik Thomsen LLC Asian Art, New York]; sold to Harvard University Art Museum

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Purchase through the generosity of The Rubin-Ladd Foundation under the bequest of Ester R. Portnow
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art

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The slightly rounded walls of this small tea caddy rise almost vertically from the small, circular, countersunk base; they indent slightly near the top to form the vertical lip that receives and secures in place the cover, which has a flat top and vertical side walls. The exteriors of both cover and container are coated in roiro black lacquer; the cover and upper portion of the container's walls are emblazoned with a pattern of cherry blossoms and maple leaves in red and gold, which contrast with the black lacquer ground. Most of the leaves and blossoms--which are not connected and which lack any stems or scrolling foliage--are rendered in kirigane gold foil; a few leaves and blossoms are highlighted in red lacquer, while a few others are accentuated with bokashi kinpun gold dust. The lower portion of the container's exterior is embellished with nashiji gold flakes. The underside of the container and the interiors of both cover and container are enlivened with densely applied nashiji gold flakes, so that they superficially appear to have been rendered in a sparkling reddish gold lacquer. The overall impression is one of sumptuousness. The inclusion of both cherry blossoms and maple leaves in the decorative scheme makes this tea caddy appropriate for use in both spring and autumn.

Exhibition History

  • Re-View: S228-230 (Asian rotation: 7) Art of the Fan: China, Korea, Japan, Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 11/18/2011 - 05/05/2012

Subjects and Contexts

  • Collection Highlights

Verification Level

This record was created from historic documentation and may not have been reviewed by a curator; it may be inaccurate or incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at