Picnic Box (bottle)


Artist
Japanese (Japanese)
Date
19th century
Medium
Pewter
Dimensions
: 8.8 in. x 3.3 in. x 3.3 in. (22.23 cm x 8.25 cm x 8.25 cm)
Credit Line
Gift of Risa and Chris Engle in honor of Mayia and Leah
Object Number
2016.32.33.M-N

Label
Picnic boxes like this were used 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.

Object Type
Lacquer