Writing Box with Cranes and Pine Motif
Kamisaka Sekka (Japanese, 1866 – 1942)
DateEarly 20th century
MediumLacquered wood, metalic pigments
DimensionsWork : 1 1/2 x 4 x 9 in. (3.81 x 10.16 x 22.86 cm)
Credit LineGift of Wilson Grabill, in honor of Mike Brummel, Class of 1957
LabelKamisaka Sekka was among the most important Japanese designers of the early 20th century. A master of the modern Rimpa school, Sekka created designs for screen and scroll paintings, woodblock prints, lacquers, ceramics and cloisonné enamels. In 1901 and 1910 Sekka traveled to Europe where he absorbed influences from Art Nouveau and Impressionism. His work served as an influential bridge between traditional and modern currents in 20th century Japanese art. The stylized crane and pine motif on this writing box is an excellent example of Sekka’s design aesthetic. Because the Japanese believed that both cranes and pine trees live for hundreds of years, they were considered symbols of longevity in Japanese culture and often appeared together in Japanese art. The decoration on this box would have made it a suitable gift for an older person with literary inclinations.