MediumLacquered wood, pewter
Dimensions : 13 5/8 x 13 7/8 x 8 1/4 in. (34.61 x 35.24 x 20.96 cm)
Credit LineGift of Risa and Chris Engle in honor of Mayia and Leah
LabelPicnic boxes were used during the Edo Period (1615-1868) by wealthy samurai and townsmen who had the money and leisure time to enjoy recreational excursions away from home. The set includes a four-tiered food box; two rice-wine flasks; a serving tray; and a drawer for serving and eating implements. Apart from the metal wine flasks, the rest of the set is made of lacquer-coated wood. Asian lacquer is derived from the sap of the tree Toxicodendron vernicifluum. When the sap is refined and applied in thin coats to objects made of other materials, it creates a highly durable surface that protects the objects against damage from extreme temperatures, moisture and insects. The speckled surface of the box was created by sifting metal flakes onto the wet lacquer surface and polishing it to a smooth, shiny finish.