VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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Picknickset
RMV 1-543
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

This hexogenal picnic set was divided into three squares, two of which would fold open hinged to the central compartment. Top right is a set of rectangular boxes in wood marquetry-work, the inside black lacquered, top left is a somewhat similar set. The central compartment then holds a set of hexogenal boxes, one red-lacquered, the other in plain wood, covered by a lid finished with mother-of-pearl inlay. Above is a similarly inlaid rectangular black-lacquered box, above are five variously lacquered serving trays. The outer box has openwork decorations. The hexogenal boxes at the bottom of the central compartment would fit in the open sections of the unfolding parts, and the curved arms of the handle, slid into the eyelets, would ensure safe transportation. This showy gadget, dating from the 1820s, clearly demonstrates that Japanese ingenuity is of all ages, but the concept of innate beauty and harmony only a recent construction. Prof. Matthi Forrer, curator Japanese arts, Leiden.

History of the Object
From the collection of Siebold 1-543, and probably acquired around Hakone during the 1826 court journey.

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Type
Decorative Art 
Materials
Wood; lacquer; metal 
Measurements
Width 24,7 cm. Height 36 cm. Length 28,6 cm.  
Creator name
Anonymous 
Creator date
Unknown 
Where it was made
Japan 
Geography
Japan 
Time period
AD 19th century ~ AD 19th century 
Creation date
19th Century; 1826 
Function
Cherry-viewing parties mark the beginning of picnic outings, lasting well into autumn. For the townspeople these were an ideal opportunity to show off. It is therefore no wonder that picnic sets were equally ideal vehicles for display of luxury and inventiveness. 
Acquisition
Collected by Philip Franz von Siebold between 1823 and 1829. Acquired by the National Museum of Ethnology in 1837. 
Copyright
 
Acknowledgements
 
Owner
State property, the Netherlands 
Museum
National Museum of Ethnology, Rijksmuseum Volkenkunde 
Credit line
National Museum of Ethnology, Leiden, the Netherlands 

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