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Enquiry from Online Galleries regarding "A Massive Japanese Red Lacquer Coffer. Late Edo Period."
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Look at what I found on the Online Galleries website!
The slightly domed lid decorated in low relief with a Hai Riyo ( dragon bird ) in flight amongst cloud scrolls on a sprinkled gold, red ground. The front depicts a similar Hai Ryo flying above turbulent waves with droplets in mother-of-pearl conveying the spray. The waves extend around the sides and back of the coffer which has foliate engraved gilt metal mounts and a lock bearing the Go-san-no-kiri (5-3 Paulownia flower) crest. The interior is lined in the original blue silk fabric decorated with dragon roundels and other motifs.
This tour de force displays the extraordinary creativity and skill of a master craftsman of the late Edo period and was probably created for storing the ceremonial robes of a feudal lord or a highly placed dignitary.
An extract from the 'Works of Chuang Tsze’, chap 1, p.1 by F.H. Balfour F.R.G.S.:
In the Northern Sea there was a fish whose name was Kw'en. It is not known how many thousand li this fish was in length. It was afterwards transformed into a bird called P'eng, the size of whose back is uncertain by some thousands of li. Suddenly it would dart upwards with rapid flight, it's wings overspreading the sky like clouds. When the waters were agitated ( in the sixth moon) the bird moved its habitat to the Southern Sea, the Pool of Heaven.
On the screens decorating the Chi-on-in monastery in Kioto, are depicted several half- bird, half- dragons, which appear to represent the Japanese interpretation of the Chinese Ying Lung or winged dragon.
Measurements: 66 ½” (169cm) Wide; 30 ½” (77.5cm) High; 30" (76cm) Deep.